India Bristles; Bridgehampton Sparkles; and Death Lurks Nearby.
The Hirst auction is bringing out everyone with something to gain by commenting on the sale. Let’s start with India where critics found the artist haughty and self-important–mostly because he didn’t make the trip to India. Here are a few snippets of umbrage from Uma Nair’s opinion piece in the Indian press:
The 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.” ( . . . ) Sotheby’s 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 light. ( . . . ) Has London reached a saturation point for Hirst? Are Hirst and Sotheby’s looking for new collectors in the East because of this saturation? ( . . . ) Hirst’s 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. ( . . . ) Indeed Indian collectors are much more than just the fly on the wall! And by all standards we are artistically literate.
The Times of London re-capitulates the Indian reaction here adding the observation that there was a formaldehyde cow on display and closing with the important information
Whatever India’s critics say, Sotheby’s insists that the reception given to Hirst’s work in Delhi was “extraordinarily enthusiastic”. Making the event a success was crucial: India is home to the fastest-growing pool of dollar millionaires in the world (125,000 and rising) as well as four of the world’s ten richest billionaires, and is likely to drive much of the global art scene in years to come.
On this side of the world, the Bridge show seems to have been a big success. At least according to Art + Auction’s Sarah Douglas:
For the first hour of the Hirst affair Dennison’s 450-person estimate looked like wishful thinking. But by 7:30 the place was hopping, waiters straining to get the canapé-laden trays circulating quickly enough. ( . . . ) Onetime Dali publisher Alex Rosenberg, offered the observation that this isn’t about art, its about money and power! And added that Hirst couldn’t have existed without Warhol, who couldn’t have existed without Dali, in the lineage of modern hype and marketing. For his part, novelist James Frey made a somewhat confusing analogy between the market trajectories of Warhol and Hirst. ( . . .) A roll call: over here, Sotheby’s chief auctioneer Tobias Meyer, who manages to look as severe in a casual button down as he does in a suit at the rostrum, over there consultant Lorinda Ash. Dealers Kenny Schachter, Stellan Holm and Christophe van de Weghe. Auction house collusion scandal scribe Christopher Mason. And a bevy of collectors, including the ubiquitous Beth Rudin de Woody, whose art agenda rivals that of globe trotting curator Hans Ulrich Obrist.
In a macabre footnote that seems oddly consonant with Hirst’s emphasis on the lurking presence of death in everything, The New York Times reports on the caddy at The Bridge who is under indictment for murder in local bar fight.