ESSAY: How to Say Hirst Was First

Who's on first?

Heraclitus was right. When the waters are everflowing, you can never step into the same river twice.

It is therefore, always safe to claim that some work of art, some event, some person, is a “first” — nothing will be the same after so and so, after thus and such, after this.

The controversial Damien Hirst sale at Sotheby’s in 2008 was a first: the contemporary art market would never be the same afterward.

Go ahead and say that, Google it: you won’t lack for support. The press was, after all, in a frenzy, mounting stories about the show, Beautiful in My Mind Forever, and the subsequent two day sale, onto the background blitz of financial failures and the Lehman Brothers collapse.

But what kind of “first” was it?

Continue reading “ESSAY: How to Say Hirst Was First”

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Bonhams, Sotheby’s Betting on a Revived Interest in Islamic Art

This morning, Kelly Crow, writing for SPEAKEASY (a WSJ blog) , informed us that Bonhams is set to offer 20 pieces by Iranian artists, in a May sale. The Latin American art sale includes some popular and some emerging Iranian artists, with works expected to sell for as much as $120,000.

Meantime, Sotheby’s has announced that its April Arts of the Islamic World Sale took in $23.8 million, setting a record for, as they put it, “any sale of Islamic art.”

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