Christ Driving the Traders from the Temple, El Greco, circa 1600, oil on canvas, National Gallery, London
An article from yesterday’s Independent of London on the great sell off of Damien Hirst’s work. Interestingly the collapsing Ponzi scheme signaled by Gagosian putting up Hirst’s work in 11 of his galleries worldwide fails to be mentioned. I noted at the time that putting Hirst’s work up in so many galleries seemed like a desperation move. Apparently, it didn’t work out. :
A couple things of note from the article.
We’re informed that many of Hirst’s pieces at his 2008 sale bypassing traditional dealers were bought by Middle Eastern, Indian, and Russian collectors as “recession-proof” investments. Apparently collectors from these countries are yet to wise up to the fact that the upper precincts of the art world are little more than rigged insider trading schemes.
Georgina Adam, “an art market specialist,” tells us that Hirst has been a fabricator of luxury goods for a long time now.” She doesn’t mention that the same label fits most of the art that galleries like Gagosian sell. Dead-enders. Art about nothing that says nothing. High fashion. Devoid of feeling about life or the real world that collectors who can afford this work are busily destroying.
I wish that these art investment counselors and “specialists” had their own TV show like Jim Cramer’s Mad Money. But then again, the name of the game in the art world is to pretend that art isn’t about money. It’s about the higher civilized values, as if there’s anything at present that one might consider as constituting a civilization.
“According to art market rumors, Hirst’s dealers have regularly stepped in to bid up the value of his work,…. ” In the old days this would have been known as auction rigging. But in today’s art world, pure fraud is just the way they do business..
“Concerns are frequently aired over exactly how much money actually changed hands for his most expensive creation For the Love of God–a platinum-plated, diamond-encrusted skull–which boasted a 50 million pound price tag. The skull was purchased by a consortium of investors led by Hirst.”
Nice of Hirst to put an exclamation point to the fraud by leading his consortium of investors in buying back his own work at auction.
“Works by Hirst produced in his most lucrative period between 2005 and…2008 have resold for nearly 30 percent less than their original purchase price.”
This kind of erratic behavior by reliable art stocks has got to have a lot of investors knitting their brows, not to mention the recent collapse of the venerable Knoedler Gallery, which went bankrupt after being caught selling obvious forgeries to gullible art collectors.
Who can these poor collectors trust these days?
Maybe Julian Spalding, who called the Hirst collapse in advance.
I particularly liked the line where Spalding says: “He’s not an artist. What separates Michelangelo from Hirst is that Michelangelo was an artist and Hirst isn’t.”
I suspect Mr. Spalding to have been reading TrueOutsider, as it’s an obvious lift of my Phantom of the Opera statement from back in December. But, as always, I’m quite happy to go uncredited. Just so long as the word gets out.: