Posts Tagged ‘Art & Commerce’


November 26, 2008  |  art, Art & Commerce, Damien Hirst, London, News  |  Comments Off on LONDON///NEWS///DAMIEN HIRST LAYS OFF STUDIO STAFF

Damien faces the global economic crisis with his game face—and skull—intact…

After a record-breaking solo auction at SOTHEBY’S in September that raised a record $200 million USD, DAMIEN HIRST has announced this week that he’s laying off half of his staff of London-based assistants that create the bulk of his art in a factory-style setting under his Science Ltd. studio umbrella. Having explained in July that he would cease production of some of his most (in)famous series of works including the spin, butterfly, and medicine cabinet lines, after the last offerings of each were sold at Sotheby’s, Hirst has scaled back his workforce accordingly, perhaps in anticipation of upcoming artwork that he promises will be more painterly and hands-on with less emphasis on the manufactured sculptural tableaux he’s become famous for. Around 20 of Hirst’s assistants who are earn a reported $30K USD each, have been let go, and although workers have been told not to speak to the press, the artist’s spokesperson Jude Tyrrell explained, “As previously stated by Damien, he is finishing a number of bodies of works which is why temporary contracts have not been renewed. We have to be mindful of the current economic climate and how this may affect us in the future.” After all, art, above all else, must reflect one’s times, no?

In other Hirst news, have a look at Damien’s commentary on his recent entry into the BRITISH MUSEUM’s current “Statuephilia” show and the skull as a metaphor in his art:


November 24, 2008  |  art, Art & Commerce, Beijing, China, News, Openings  |  Comments Off on CHINA///ART & COMMERCE///THE ART OF CHRISTIAN DIOR IN BEIJING

“Worker Peasant Businessman Student Soldier,” by Zhang Xiaogang

The intersection of the fashion and art worlds has become an increasingly trafficked corridor of late, and the show “Christian Dior and Chinese Artists,” that opened at Beijing’s ULLENS CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ART last week, seeks to satiate China’s seemingly endless appetite for both Western fashion and modern art. Featuring newly commissioned works that express the “essence of Dior” by leading Chinese artists Wang Du, Zhang Huan, Huang Rui, Li Songsong, Zhang Dali, Xu Zhongmin, Liu Jianhua, Zheng Guogu, Lu Hao, Wang Qingsong, Yan Lei, Zhang Xiaogang, Wen Fang, Shi Jingsong, Wang Gongxin, Quentin Shih, Liu Wei, Rong Rong & Inri, Tim Yip, Qiu Zhijie, and Ma Yan Song—displayed alongside epic couture pieces by the brand, the fashion house seeks to further glamorize its stunning aesthetic legacy with an art show of visual hits and misses. Highlights of the show include otherwise socially conscious artist ZHANG DALI’s portrait of Dior designer JOHN GALLIANO using repeating tonal “AK-47” text (although these homages are usually reserved for victims of gun violence); LI SONGSONG‘s two-story Dior purse constructed of fluorescent tubes; and WANG QINGSONG’s Last Supper photo featuring Dior-clad models and the artist himself in hospital pajamas as Christ. While the incredibly hot Chinese art scene has turned into a massive factory system with top artists churning out works created by an army of assistants (often sold directly through art auctions) at breakneck pace, the marriage of the two commodities seems to mostly work in this collaboration and surely hits the spot for the domestic audience for which it’s intended. God knows in this economy all major brands will have their sights focused firmly on China in the coming years with marketing blitzes that will surely make the branding extravaganzas over the last five years in Western markets seem like a warmup run. HAVE A LOOK:

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November 24, 2008  |  art, Art & Commerce, Banksy, Graffiti, News, Street Art  |  Comments Off on NEWS///ART & COMMERCE///BANKSY RELEASES “NOLA” PRINT

Banksy’s “Nola” girl prays for pennies from heaven…

Speaking of “Street Art,” the ever-elusive phantom that is the underground art world’s “Damien Hirst,” namely BANKSY, has just released a silk-screened print of an image from his recent swing through New Orleans. Produced by UK print house PICTURES ON WALLS, the signed and numbered edition cashes out at a very hefty £450 GBP (approx. $670 USD), making us hope that in these economically dire times, the proceeds from this very politically-motivated image are being donated to a local New Orleans charity, although no information to confirm this has been released.

Nola locals contemplate removing the original and buying a city block with the proceeds…


November 20, 2008  |  art, Art & Commerce, Kanye, KAWS, News, Rock of Ages  |  Comments Off on NEWS///ROCK OF AGES///KANYE WEST x KAWS FOR “808s & HEARTBREAK” SPECIAL EDITION ALBUM ART

Kanye is an accessory junkie…

Supertouch buddy and self-proclaimed “voice of a generation” KANYE WEST has upped the ante on his highly anticipated new album “808s & Heartbreak” by drafting fast-rising Pop Art star KAWS to design a custom cover available exclusively on the iTunes version of the album dropping Tuesday, November 25th, and in stores on December 16th as a sepcial Christmas edition of the record.



November 19, 2008  |  art, Art & Commerce, News  |  Comments Off on NEWS///NEW TODD JAMES/REAS PRINT GOES ON THE BLOCK


Wildcard artist TODD JAMES, (aka: REAS) will drop his newest art print this Thursday, November 20th at noon (NYC time) exclusively at his newly-launched eponymous website. Titled “New Deal,” the insanely high quality 22″ x 30″ print on coventry rag 335g archival paper is absolutely identical to his original artwork (trust us, we’ve seen it in person) and will be available for $250.00 in a strict signed and numbered edition of 150. Don’t sleep…




November 18, 2008  |  art, Art & Commerce, News  |  Comments Off on SIGN OF THE TIMES///LIFE IMITATES ART


Following news of last week’s disastrous CONTEMPORARY ART AUCTION at PHILLIPS DE PURY, we couldn’t help but offer a closer look at our favorite piece from the sale, namely KENDELL GEERS‘ “The Fall” (2005). Sometimes life imitates art, no?…

(Yes, it did sell, for $56K USD, well below the conservative estimate of 60,000-80,000.)


November 18, 2008  |  art, Art & Commerce, Editorial, News  |  Comments Off on EDITORIAL: THE STATE OF THE MODERN ART WORLD? SAME AS IT EVER WAS

Hirst’s “Beautiful Artemis Thor Neptune Odin Delusional Sapphic Inspirational Hypnosis Painting,” defys a greedy flipper’s ambitions at auction…

Following the dismal sales results of several high profile contemporary art auctions at venerable resale institutions CHRISTIES, PHILLIPS DE PURY, and SOTHEBY’S this month, England’s Warhol, otherwise known as DAMIEN HIRST, has come out in his first interview following his record-shattering $200 million Sotheby’s auction in September as saying the art market is over inflated. Citing as an example his spin art painting featuring a quartet of skulls, “Beautiful Artemis Thor Neptune Odin Delusional Sapphic Inspirational Hypnosis Painting,” which was poised to fetch at least $3 million USD at last week’s Phillips de Pury NYC auction but instead went unsold, the artist said the piece “was over-priced. It was bought from me less than a year ago at half the price.” Explaining the state of the current market, he added, “We are looking at more realistic prices. People who bought things are not going to sell them that day. That is what an artist wants, for people to hang the works on their wall. As an artist, you don’t stop making art because people are not buying it. I think it’s quite good [adjustment in art market prices] because it became unreal … You start to think you are touched by God. I have always thought that art is worth what the next guy is prepared to pay.” Watching the hyper-inflation that has been the hallmark of the modern art market in recent years, largely driven by these now-floundering big auction sales, it’s quite a pleasure indeed to see the unrealistic top of the blue-chip art world lopped off as the world economy staggers to find its legs beneath crippling debt and stagnating development. It’s exactly this kind of hyper speculation that killed the economy at large and has brought a legion of younger, less established artists to new and dangerous levels of financial success in the span of a few years—the term “street art” certainly comes to mind—that will surely crash back to ground as they find no takers in the future art market for their work at prices that were unrealistic to begin with. Of course, like all markets, art sales are driven by fear and prices remain at the mercy of the global psychology. Real collectors with real money and a bit of common sense will of course be picking up incredible and previously untouchable art that will doubtlessly come onto the secondary market in droves throughout 2009 as the economy hits rock bottom and day traders realize it’s either the Richard Prince or the house and start letting the treasures go one by one. Of course, that’s not to say that all art worth less—or, more accurately, not selling—today has “lost” its value. Like the real estate market, art bought at reasonable prices today will no doubt again realize enormous values as the economic crisis lessens in the coming years and we begin the whole vicious cycle anew. The morals of the story? Be smart; only buy what you like; know that if it seems too expensive, it definitely is; never believe the hype; and treat art bought as an “investment” with the same caution you’d buy a stock. In the meantime, one thing’s for sure: 2009 is gonna be a great year to be an art collector. Read more about the subject HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE



November 14, 2008  |  art, Art & Commerce, News  |  Comments Off on NEWS///ART & COMMERCE///METALLICA’S DRUMMER SELLS BASQUIAT FOR $13.5 MILLION

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Untitled (Boxer),” 1982

The world economy might be on hold (much like Metallica’s creative streak post-“Master of Puppets”) but at CHRISTIE’S big contemporary art auction this week METALLICA drummer LARS ULRICH‘s phenomenal 1982 JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT painting, “Untitled (Boxer),” changed hands for a very healthy $13,522,500 USD against a pre-sale estimate of $12 million. A standout amidst an otherwise lackluster sale overall, the auction proved that Basquiat’s finest work is indeed recession-proof. Meanwhile, we’re more than happy to see the rest of the fine art world’s prices readjusting for a new market after a ridiculously bullish escalation over that past few years. Without a doubt, for serious collectors 2009 & ’10 are gonna be great years for headhunting masterpieces at bargain prices. The rest of us will just have to enjoy our canned beans in the company of our children’s refrigerator drawings…

No wonder Hetfield hates Lars…


November 13, 2008  |  art, Art & Commerce, News, Obama, Politiks, Shepard Fairey  |  Comments Off on NEWS///POLITIKS///SMITHSONIAN IN TALKS TO ACQUIRE SHEPARD FAIREY OBAMA PORTRAIT

Barry O lookin smooth in Denver…

If the SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION has its way, a giant fine art version of SHEPARD FAIREY‘s iconic portrait of the now-president elect BARACK OBAMA will enter the collection of its NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY as the first official fine art rendering of the future president. The only hitch? Money. The $75,000 price tag for the piece, which was created by Fairey as the centerpiece of his “Manifest Hope” Obama art show that took place in Denver during this year’s DNC, must be raised through donations, though word on the street is that the museum is close to meeting this figure. As if having a street artist with a criminal record branding a presidential campaign weren’t enough, this move can definitely be filed under the headers of “Hope,” and “Progress.”

Shepard Fairey is now unarrestable. No personal security detail yet, though…


November 5, 2008  |  art, Art & Commerce, News, Obama, Politiks, Pop Life, Toybox  |  Comments Off on TOYBOX///POLITIKS///RON ENGLISH’S “ABRAHAM OBAMA” BUST DROPS ON ELECTION DAY

Even better than that crusy Beethoven bust you’ve got on your piano…

Supertouch‘s resident Popagandist and billboard liberator RON ENGLISH put “Abraham Obama,” his incredibly unique hybrid portrait of BARACK OBAMA and ABRAHAM LINCOLN into play early in the Big O’s presidential campaign via a massive series of eye-catching posters wheatpasted, guerilla-style, across the walls of America’s urban centers. To commemorate the unique nature of today’s presidential election, MINDSTYLE TOYS has dropped their collaborative homage with Mr. English in the form of a gleaming white 16″ vinyl bust of “Abraham Obama,” sculpted by Vin Teng in a limited edition of 50 pieces. Retailing at $200 USD, the piece is available for order exclusively through Don’t sleep. And more importantly, don’t forget to vote…

“Abraham Obama” rolls hard in the streets of Beantown

Uncle Jam Ronnie wants YOU to vote for McCain—as performance art…