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Artists Talk Market at Guggenheim Gala; Hirst Says He’ll Lower Prices

Catherine Opie talks about her day job on NY Times video of Guggenheim Gala

While we’re on the subject of the Guggenheim: Do you wish you could have attended last week’s Guggenheim Gala? Now you can—via video on the NY Times website.

Listen in as the Guggenheim’s new director, Richard Armstrong, entertains the assembled swells with his dry wit, saying that he’s “very happy to have this job. In fact, I’m glad to have a job, period!” Watch Christie’s Christopher Burge as he energetically wields the gavel at the benefit auction, which “raised $635,000 in 15 minutes,” according to the Times’ Melena Ryzik.

It seems that the artists at the gala, like everyone else in the artworld, were keeping a wary eye on the market. Ryzik made the slump the subject of her interviews with partying artists. Catherine Opie said this:

With anything where there’s a huge economic rise and then an economic fall, what happens is people who were just in it only for the money get weeded out and there is actually a good side to that….It’s going to hurt a lot of people and it’s going to hurt me. But that’s why I have a day job: I’m a full-tenured professor at UCLA and I’m not giving up my day job any time soon!

And here are Cai Guo-Qiang’s market musings:

I won’t mind if it [the market] goes down a little. When prices are lower, more museums and public institutions will be able to acquire them [artworks].

But for the last word on the contemporary art market, let’s go across the pond to Mr. Good Timing himself, quoted by Arifa Akbar in an extensive interview for the London Independent. Damien Hirst told Akbar:

think it’s quite good [the adjustment in art market prices] because it became
unreal….If I want to
sell new work, I’ll price it lower. If people have got less money, you can
either just shut your door and say, “Screw everybody,” or I can wait until
everyone can afford my work or price it cheaper.

Easy for him to say. His audacious one-man auction of new work on Sept. 15 at Sotheby’s was the last running of the art-market bulls.

an ArtsJournal blog