How Does the Art World Live With Itself?

The lush new art-world documentary The Price of Everything shows us a system so waist-deep in hypermarketing and excess that it’s hard to look at art without being overcome by money, prices, auctions, art fairs, celebrities, well-known artists, and mega-collectors who fancy themselves conquistadors. In this, it’s a lot like most recent accounts of the art world […]

The End of Exhibitions? As Attendance Plummets, New York Dealers Are Scrambling to Secure the Future of the Art Gallery

To lure the public back into art galleries, dealers are banding together and adopting vintage tactics like the old-fashioned gallery walk. On Wednesday night in New York, 30 art galleries stayed open late to accommodate visitors to the inaugural Chelsea Art Walk, a new initiative spearheaded by the Art Dealers Association of America. It’s a “great […]

The Gray Market: Could Auction Houses Really Help Save Struggling Galleries? (and Other Insights)

Our columnist follows the bread crumbs left by the rumor that Art Agency, Partners will offer gallery advisory services for a hefty fee. It’s not exactly an analytical breakthrough if I tell you that the art industry is deeply troubled and, in many cases, deeply paranoid right now. A lot of people in the trade […]

Private Sales Offer Art for a Few Eyes Only

Private sales through auction houses are suddenly big, but are they new? “It was something that was kept under wraps at most of the houses for some time,” said David Schrader, who joined Sotheby’s last year as its head of private sales for contemporary art. “Now we’re being very vocal about it and putting more […]

How Is Western Art Really Faring in Asia? 3 Trendlines From Hong Kong’s Spring Auctions Reveal the Changing Market

Asian, postwar, and fine art are by far the most bankable categories in Hong Kong. In recent years, Hong Kong has transformed in the eyes of the Western art industry. Formerly a destination that warranted attention primarily during Art Basel Hong Kong and a few scattered auctions, the region now hosts permanent spaces from many of […]

From Van Gogh to Richter—what happens when bidders fail to pay up at auction?

Flaky winning bids are knocking the gloss off record-breaking sales. Shortly before Christie’s sale of post-war and contemporary art in New York on 15 November 2017, the auction house learnt of a potential new bidder: a little-known Saudi prince, Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud. According to the New York Times, a scramble […]

How to sell a billion worth of art

This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio.   BARRY RITHOLTZ, ANCHOR, BLOOMBERG:  This week on the podcast I have a special guest.  Her name is Brooke Lampley.  She was the former head of impressionist and modern art at Christie’s.  She is the incoming Chairperson of Fine Art Sotheby’s and this is a […]

The Kippenberger Conundrum: How the Wildly Prolific Artist’s Artist Became an Eight-Figure Auction Darling

It was the peak of the 2014 fall auction season in New York, and though nearly two decades had gone by since Martin Kippenberger’s death of liver failure in 1997, the artist’s market had never been hotter. Prior to its bellwether postwar and contemporary evening sale, Christie’s had set the estimate for a prized 1988 […]

The False Narrative of Damien Hirst’s Rise and Fall

The rise and fall of Damien Hirst is an oft-told tale of hubris and nemesis. An art-world superstar in the nineteen-nineties and early two-thousands, Hirst made white-hot works—the most infamous of which involved animals immersed in formaldehyde—whose prices only ever went up. He got rich, his galleries got rich, his collectors got rich, everybody was happy. But, then, […]

The Art Market Moves East: How Gagosian, David Zwirner, and 14 Other Western Art Businesses Are Trying to Expand to Asia

China has been described as “the largest growth market for the art business, anywhere.” See how auctioneers and dealers are tapping into it. In the past year alone, no fewer than six galleries have opened or announced plans to open an outpost or office somewhere in Asia. Amid announcement after announcement, it may feel like […]

Cerith Wyn Evans: Deciphering the Code

Withth two kilometres’ worth of white neon tubing arranged in dazzling arrays of lines and curves high above the Duveen Galleries’ polished floors, Forms in Space… by Light (in Time), Cerith Wyn Evans’s installation for this year’s Tate Britain Commission (of which Sotheby’s is a sponsor) cannot be mistaken for another artist’s work. Born in […]

German contemporary art a big draw as artists come to terms with past

Sotheby’s says ‘unprecedented interest’ with buyers tuning in to postwar masters’ attempts to use work to confront history. For years, contemporary art sales at the world’s leading auction houses were dominated by the works of American and British artists. When it came to eye-watering amounts of money, paintings by anglophone figures including Andy Warhol, Jackson […]

Has the Art Market Become an Unwitting Partner in Crime?

When you sell your home the paperwork details the sale, including your name, and the title search lists the names of the people who owned the property before you. But when someone sells an artwork at auction — even something worth $100 million, much more than your house — the identity is typically concealed. Oh, […]

Legendary Filmmaker John Waters On the Audacity of Cy Twombly – Video

What is like to live with a work by post-war master Cy Twombly? According to legendary filmmaker John Waters, it’s “great because every day when you pass it you think of his nerve. The audacity of him doing this.” Watch this video to find out more about John Waters’ longstanding admiration for the artist (it is […]

The Art Market: now what?

This week saw the first post-Brexit art auctions in London, and they brought considerable cheer to a market predominantly dismayed at the Leave decision. To a backdrop of a declining exchange rate for the pound and Britain losing its AAA rating status, on Monday Phillips turned in a modest total of £9.8m hammer (£11.9m with […]

Richard Serra’s 10 Most Expensive Artworks at Auction

Iconoclastic American artist Richard Serra launched an exhibition of his latest steel behemoths at Gagosian Gallery in New York this past Saturday, featuring four new works: Above Below Betwixt Between,Every Which Way, Silence (for John Cage), and Through. It’s the thirtieth big show at the gallery for the artist, who splits his time between New York and Nova Scotia. Suffice it to say, the […]

Sotheby’s Shares Rise on its Acquisition of Art Agency, Partners

In a dramatic development for the auction industry, Sotheby’s announced on Monday that it had acquired Art Agency, Partners, a two-year old, New York-based art advisory company, for $50 million plus built-in performance fees that could elevate that number to $85 million over the next four years. “AAP’s profitable business helps drive initiatives that are […]

Sotheby’s Acquires Art Advisory Firm Art Agency, Partners

In a somewhat surprising move, Sotheby’s announced today it will pay $50 million in cash to acquire the art advisory firm Art Agency, Partners and create a new Fine Art Division run by AAP’s Amy Cappellazzo and Allan Schwartzman. The deal could reportedly total $85 million if the performance benchmarks over the next five years. The left-field […]

Sotheby’s Reassuring $294M Contemporary Evening Sale

The contemporary art market settled down to a steadier pace at Sotheby’s New York Wednesday evening, turning in a solid and respectable $294,850,000 sale for the 44 lots that sold. Ten of the 54 lots offered failed to sell for a trim buy-in rate by lot of 18.5 percent. Five works sold for more than $15 […]

CHRISTIE’S ‘ARTIST MUSE’ SALE NETS $491.4 M., LED BY A $170.4 M. MODIGLIANI, THE SECOND-HIGHEST PRICE EVER REALIZED AT AUCTION

Amedeo Modigliani’s Nu Couché (1917–18) soared past its already astronomical $100 million on-request estimate en route to a record-smashing price of $170.4 million at Christie’s Monday night, making the magnificent nude portrait the second-most-expensive painting ever sold at auction—and, in a twist, a high point in an otherwise surprisingly tepid evening. The Artist’s Muse, the auction house’s […]