Arts, Culture & Media

Art still a good investment

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Damien Hirst, Away from the Flock (1994) (Image: artchive.com)

Controversial artist Damien Hirst put more than two hundred of his works up for auction at Sotherbys. His gold-hoofed cow in a vat of formaldehyde is expected to sell for millions; the total value of the sale could reach as much as 200 million dollars. "The World's" Laura Lynch reports.

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The artist's trademark is pickled animals -- the centerpiece of which is the gold-hoofed cow. He admits it's odd: "My whole idea in the beginning with those animal pieces in formaldehyde was I just ... I used to hate zoos ... there's a massive tragedy in there that I didn't like."

At the offices of "The Art Newspaper" in London, art markets editor Melanie Girlis scans the latest stratospheric prices of paintings and sculpture and can't quite believe it: "Ever since the fist signs of the credit crunch came last August, we have been expecting the art market to react with the economic markets, and what has happened seems to be opposite to what we expected. The art market has at least stayed pretty strong."

Girlis says most buyers are from non-traditional markets, where wealthy new entrepreneurs have the money to buy what they like: "What's happening in America and in the U.K. is not happening in the Middle East and Russia and India and China -- countries which are just beginning to discover the ... international art market and are investing fairly heavily in it.

PRI's "The World" is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. "The World" is a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston. More "The World."

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