Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Art in a pickle

Yesterday The Independent proclaimed that Damien Hirst was in a bit of a pickle as his art prices plummeted to only $600,000 for one of his 'spot' paintings. Oh how my heart bleeds! Most of us can only dream of getting a tiny weeny percentage of that price for our pain and toil!! This rather sounds to me like a price correction, something that has happened to other valuable assets since the current recession began to bite.

Damien Hirst respresents both the good and bad of the art world. He is evidently a confident, creative personality whose work often deals with the great imponderables, of life and death. I remember seeing his blood-spattered crow paintings at Hoxton's White Cube and found them imaginative and interesting. On the other hand he seems to have become lost in his own ego and tremendous wealth, producing things that are enormous, shiny and vulgar. His giant pregnant females look like the very worst examples of public art, while his diamond encrusted skull showed him unashamedly flashing his 'wad'.

The Independent article also reveals again how the art market often operates like any other market. Hirst's dealers have been shown to stockpile his vast output to keep prices artificially high. There are allegations that his representatives are bidding up his prices at auction events. Testament again, if any were needed, that art has been transformed into a tradable commodity, while artists are providing a (admittedly slow and inefficient) factory line of desirable products for the public. Thinking about it, maybe Hirst is deliberately attempting to reveal to us the worse aspects of the world of art. Otherwise I'm not sure whether we're being pickled or stuffed!

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