Behind the Scenes at Damien Hirst's Effects on the Art Market

Staying in the UK a bit longer and specifically with one of the artists mentioned in that last post, The Economist has published this fascinating read: “The Art Market: Hands Up for Hirst.” It covers the quick rise and sudden fall of the prices surrounding Damien Hirst‘s famously expensive pieces, including the legendary “Beautiful” which sold at a price near $200 million at an auction held around this time two years ago (it went along with the bulk of 223 other pieces that also fetched hundreds of thousands, if not multiple millions). However, since the economic tumble that swept the world shortly thereafter, the perceived value of his work has fallen considerably, as well as his sales numbers (just two months after that record-setting September auction, Hirst laid off most of his staff). Since the decline, while the artist remained rich from the sales, those who bought his work at those incredibly high costs, including those temporarily-anonymous buyers, have seen their investments cut to pieces (or, to make a stupid joke, the financial version of his his “Mother and Child Divided“). It’s a great look at how Hirst has affected the art market and how it’s now suffering through it. Definitely worth your time.