India an outlet for Sotheby's unsold art? (Comment)
international auction house Sotheby's bring famed contemporary
artist Damien Hirst's works to India because a "mountain"
of unsold works lies in wait in London? Is Sotheby's looking
at India to sell hitherto unsold art?
are the questions being asked by art critics and collectors
in India, but a declaration Friday by the Bloomberg publication
announced that Damien Hirst's London dealer White Cube has
denied it has a "mountain" of unsold works before
a Sotheby's sale that previewed in the Hamptons and New Delhi
two days ago.
Cube, which has galleries in St. James's and Hoxton, east
London, said in an e-mailed statement that its stock level
for Hirst was normal. The Art Newspaper said on Aug 23 that
the dealer held more than 200 paintings and sculptures by
Hirst, valued at more than 100 million pounds ($184.5 million),
citing White Cube documents.
light on the truth of the matter, The Art Newspaper said 34
butterfly paintings, 35 spin paintings and six medicine cabinets,
ranging in date from 2002 to 2008, were still available, priced
at as much as 2.5 million pounds.
4.5 million pound and 4 million pound formaldehyde sculptures
"Love's Paradox" - featuring a cow split in half
- and "Black Sheep" were among works left unsold
from Hirst's June-July 2007 exhibition "Beyond Belief",
the newspaper said.
on the other hand said its "Beautiful Inside My Head
Forever" sale in London on Sep 15-16 may raise 65 million
deeper intentions reflect that Hirst's brand of democracy
is a tad peculiar and more of a diatribe in diabolism. Some
people in London feel that the Sotheby's auction is payback
time for Hirst. It seems the prices that the 43-year-old artist
wants are sky high and collectors and buyers no more want
to pay such hyped prices for such small works.
dismay of the buyers and collectors at Oberoi Hotel in New
Delhi was seen when a senior seasoned artist who wished to
be anonymous said: "This is all marketing hype. There's
nothing in this show."
course inside sources claim that Sotheby's know that Hirst's
thirst knows its own boundaries and in London those boundaries
have been met. So is Hirst then wanting to tell the art market
that he's staking his own claim to fame under the auction
on the other hand have pulled out all the stops. While Tyeb
Mehta's magnificent "Falling Bird" hung outside
the Ballroom at Oberoi like a step child, it was the small
insignificant Hirsts that hung like punctuations in a huge
hallway that showed up their plastic pretentiousness in poor
of course have gone overboard with with the two-day, hefty
three-catalogue event that includes a menagerie of Hirst's
trademark animal-in-formaldehyde pieces, including a tiger
shark and a zebra with estimates of at least 2 million pounds.
calf with 18-carat gold horns is valued at up to 12 million
pounds, said Sotheby's. The auction will also include 16 spot
paintings, 20 spin canvases, eight spin "cloths"
and 73 paintings with butterflies.
while the the auction house said its sale was of "a whole
new body of work" that had not been previously offered
by White Cube or other dealers - the spots, the butterflies,
the "Angel" are all works of the old mould just
rehashed in smaller sizes.
to Bloomberg, some art dealers have suggested that Hirst's
use of more than 100 studio assistants created issues of over-production.
Hirst, Britain's richest artist, released a video interview
on Sotheby's web site this month in which he said he is to
stop making the spin and butterfly paintings that have been
among his top-selling works.
about Sotheby's and Hirst's new affair come rankling. Will
revelations about unsold works affect the auction? Has London
reached a saturation point for Hirst? Are Hirst and Sotheby's
looking for new collectors in the East because of this saturation?
brusque and hurried recorded message of "Hi everyone,
I am too busy to come to India" smacked of indolence
and arrogance more than a friendly chatter.
to the Art Newspaper, in addition to the 100 million pounds
of unsold stock, White Cube has also yet to find a buyer for
Hirst's diamond-encrusted platinum skull, "For the Love
shown on June 3, 2007, the skull was priced at 50 million
pounds. In August 2007 White Cube said the skull, studded
with 8,601 diamonds, had been acquired by an investment group
that included Hirst himself and Jopling with the intention
to "resell the sculpture at some stage in the future".
ignorant media in India have waxed eloquent over Hirst, little
knowing that it's just hype and hubris.
questions come up: Is Hirst trying to trick the art world?
No wonder art critic Charlie Finch called him a "trick
pony". Is Sotheby's hoping to sell Hirst in India's backyard?
Is India Sotheby's "unsold outlet"? Careful Indian
buyers and collectors think "there's more than the butterfly
in that work"!
Indian collectors are much more than just the fly on the wall!
And by all standards we are artistically literate.
Nair is a noted art critic. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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