This analysis of Damien Hirst's market since the global financial crisis—using data gathered with the help of Athena Art Finance—is available to AMMpro subscribers. Subscribers get the first month free on monthly subscriptions. Feel free to cancel at any time before the month is up. Sign up for AMMpro here.
It seemed like everyone involved in the art market was posting from Venice this past weekend. The flood of images from Damien Hirst's dual venue show, The Wreck of the Unbelievable, piqued our interest in the dynamics of the Hirst market.
The Venice shows are a risky (some reports estimate the cost of fabrication and presentation at £50m) business venture and an even more perilous critical exposure for Hirst. His last attempt to debut new work—his show Francis Bacon-inspired paintings made with his own hand—was a critical rout and a cul-de-sac for new ideas and further cultural relevance.
The show is also a return, after four years of Hirst managing his market himself, to the sales force that created his initial out-sized success. That sales force may have a greater effect on his market than even the success or failure of this new body of work. At least, that's the inference to be drawn from looking at the public sales records at Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips over the last 10 years.
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