Alexandra Peers is already speculating on prices for Dash Snow’s work now that he’s been declared the new Basquiat with a compelling personal story, scene-setting publicity in the form of magazine profile and coterie of famous friends. But there are more than a few problems with predicting prices based simply on whether the artist is above ground.
But Andy Warhol died at the beginning of a huge art-market boom, Snow at the end of one — “and before he really made enough work for people to make a market in it,” says one auction-house official, who, like several others in the art world, preferred not to be quoted on the financial value of the artist’s legacy. Plus, Snow’s early works are Polaroids, which are known to age badly. Some experts say the near-term arc of Snow’s prices may be more similar to that of fellow graffiti artist Keith Haring, who died in 1990. The art market, tanking at the time, was flooded with too many Harings after his death, pushing down prices.
So far, the 27-year-old Snow’s works have made few appearances at auction, and with somewhat mixed results. In May at Phillips de Pury, his Dreams Die Hard collage zoomed to $6,875 against an estimate of about $2,500. A year earlier, his Incest, the Game the Whole Family Can Play, just squeaked by its reserve, selling for $8,750, with commission, against an estimate of $10,000 to $12,000.
Even before Snow’s death, works by his friends and colleagues, Ryan McGinley, Dan Colen, and Terrence Koh were already starting to sell for more. Art critic Charlie Finch predicts a boom in the market for works by Colen and McGinley. In particular, Colen’s candle-painting series will be seen as a tribute to Snow, he predicts. (One of them, Going, Going, Go… sold at Phillips in London for $132,663 in February.) “It will be like when the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones died,” Finch says. “Mick Jagger and Keith Richards got famous.”
It’s not clear why Peers didn’t include the Colen candle painting “Blow Me” that sold at Sotheby’s Evening sale in May for $386,500 as better evidence. Nonetheless, the speculation ignores the same sort of guessing that took place not too long ago when Robert Rauschenberg died. That prolific artist’s market is still waiting.
What Will the Art Market Decide About Dash Snow? (NY Mag.com)