Jopling responds, and Hirst’s Sotheby’s sale bandwagon rolls on amidst the buzz and controversy

September 2nd, 2008

Damien Hirst, Auction: Beautiful Inside My Head Forever / “ANATOMY OF AN ANGEL” – Carrara marble

Last week Jay Jopling, Damien Hirst’s long time dealer in London out of the White Cube gallery, in an email statement, denied that the gallery has a “mountain” of unsold works before a Sotheby’s sale as reported by much of the media, including by Art Observed, over a week ago. Jopling did not directly dispute the number of works held it White Cube’s stock but said: “”The appetite for Damien’s art is such that we never have enough and I’m always keen to have as much work on consignment as possible.” The dialog relates to Damien Hirst’s controversial direct sale of 223 works through Sotheby’s of London on September 15–16.

Hirst’s Dealer Denies `Mountain’ of Unsold Works Before Auction [Bloomberg]
White Cube Says Number of Hirst Works in Stock Is Normal [ArtInfo]
Hirst in the Hamptons [NYSun] Aug 28
Hirst Alert! [ArtInfo] Aug 27
Galleries hit as Damien Hirst tees off [TimesOnlineUK]
D-day for Damien: Is Hirst about to turn the art market on its head or finally come a cropper? [The Independent]
A disclosure of White Cube’s unsold Damien Hirst inventory before the artist’s controversial September 15th direct sale by Sotheby’s

THE IMMACULATE HEART – BLIND / bull’s heart, acrylic, gold-plated steel, dagger, dove wings, textile dye and formaldehyde solution with steel plinth, engraved with signature and title on the underside / from Damien Hirst – Beautiful Inside My Head Forever (Day Sale)

Meanwhile the PR and marketing machine from Sotheby’s, set to drive awareness of the sale and its many works, cranked on before the sale. Hirst’s work toured the Hamptons, setting up shop at the expensive, and relatively new-money golf club, the Bridge Club, in Bridgehampton, New York, to gain exposure to the New Yorkers on holiday at the beach. Similarly Sotheby’s previewed works in New Delhi, India at the Oberoi Hotel, to tap into one of the world’s major emerging markets. The dealer system, which in Hirst’s case is mainly Jay Jopling’s White Cube and Larry Gagosian’s gallery in New York, is notoriously clubby and insular despite the notable volume achieved. Though both dealers are known for out-sized and groundbreaking exhibitions, the roadshow nature of the Sotheby’s effort is yet another touch-point on how the direct sale differs from the traditional system, the results of which will be closely monitored globally at the auction.