Portrait of a recession

Forget bear or bull markets, what you really need to understand is the pickled shark market. The contemporary art business, particularly in London, has never been so vibrant with more new gallery openings, record-breaking auctions and art fair launches than you can throw a stuffed golden calf at. Really, believe the hype. On the same day Lehman bank collapsed, Merrill Lynch was taken over and Japanese markets went into freefall, the artist Damien Hirst realised a staggering US$141 million at a Sotheby’s sale of his work. His Golden Calf – featuring the aforementioned calf with golden horns and hooves – sold for US$20 million and his big shark in a formaldehyde tank realised a staggering US$18 million. “The market for art is bigger than anyone knows,” said Hirst afterwards. “I love art and this proves I am not alone.” To read the full story by Andy double click images above

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