What’s Going On with Art Tactic?
On September 2nd, Art Tactic issued a report on the Sotheby’s Hirst sale declaring the auction a crucial test of art market confidence. The report was clearly designed to garner attention for the firm. And it worked. With the press hungry for any item related to the audacious auction, Art Tactic’s report got widespread pick up. Art Tactic’s Anders Petterson should have been ecstatic. But lurking in much of Art Tactic’s analysis to reach the press of the last year and more has been an almost hopeful expectation that art prices were softening. One presumed Mr. Petterson was merely alive to the potential for a correction–the art market has been on a dramatic run for several years and most likely needs a correction to forward in an orderly way.
To further add to the drama, Petterson is very familiar with Hirst’s market performance. In 2004, he issued a report on the Pharmacy sale that predicted the artist was flooding his own market and would collapse prices. Again, logical analysis but Hirst–ever the iconclast–pulled off quite the opposite by exciting and accelerating his market. This time around, Petterson made a better call, anticipating a successful sale.
Now that the Beautiful Inside My Head Forever auction has performed in every way, does that mean the art market is on a bullish tear? Whether this is the result of the week’s turmoil in financial firms and markets or an investment in predicting gloom remains unclear, but in this Bloomberg story, Petterson all but recants his declaration that the Hirst sale would be a measure of art market confidence:
“The sale performed as expected, but a little more on the positive side,” said the report’s author, Anders Petterson. “Does this mean the contemporary-art market is saved? The sale was so specific that I’m not so sure now.”
For the record, our contention is that the Hirst sale is not a measure of anything beyond the market for works by Damien Hirst. The sale is too unique to be used as a guage in either direction.