06 October 2008


Whoever (me) thought Damien Hirst was clever in single-handedly restructuring artist-consumer relations by cutting out Mr Gallery, Tao Lin’s in on it too now .

Hirst’s straight-to-auction stunt was precipitated by two things - i) Georgian mining magnate Boris Ivanishvili buying a Peter Doig for £5.7 million (nearly five times Sotheby’s estimate for ‘White Canoe’ and at the time, early 2007, the highest price ever paid for work by a living European artist), which showed there was new money for new work ii) the success of the charity auction in part organised by Hirst, held on St. Valentine’s day 2008 in New York for RED, a third world charity, in which Hirst’s work sold for more than that of people like Howard Hodgkin, Jeff Koons, Wilem de Kooning, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.

As it says here : ‘The moment to repeat Pharmacy [the selling off of bits and pieces, many of them entirely incidental to Hirst’s work, from the trendy restaurant which had had some of Hirst’s work in it] had come’.

: These showed that the time was right.

I don’t know enough about the publishing industry to guess what might have said to Lin that this was a good time to cut out Mr Agent - part of whose role is to give the writer an advance, which the writer then must ‘pay off’ with sales, before making any profit himself.

: I suppose that since writers have to be good at concealing stuff in their work, any time is a good time to demonstate the fact you understand the stuff outside your work - apart from anything, by creating a stakeholding (if small) public, Lin has recruited a devoted (if small) number of people who will sell sell sell his work, maybe even more assiduously than those traditionally pushing an author’s work.

And this kind of investment is totally NEW (I think...). Cue a tremor in bloggerville, and more publicity.

The publishing industry is a very different fish to that of visual arts - mainly, in this case, it seems to me, because one cannot ‘own’ a book exclusively (can you…….?) and even if you could, displayed in your mile-wide hallway, it wouldn’t wow your billionaire neighbours as effectively as a formaldehyde-encased calf with really big testicles.


ryan manning said...

the next night we ate whale

Thomas Bunstead said...

and the next night?

Anonymous said...

we got stupid

Thomas Bunstead said...

but what about the NEXT night?

Thomas Bunstead said...

it's the next night i'm interested in

Thomas Bunstead said...

and the next night