Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Damien Hirst makes $200 million in one evening: The Tiger Woods of the art world

Several years ago I registered emergingmarketart.com in anticipation of the coming art boom in India and China. Unfortunately life got in the way, so the domain name stayed shelved through the extraordinary art boom of the 90s.

While I still see emerging market art as an interesting investment play, this is a business where superstars generate the lion share of profits.

Damien Hirst first hit the limelight when I lived in London 15 years ago. Last September, he sold 233 works of art in a single evening and made $200 million.

Anish Kapoor, another Brit making waves with his mirrored steel exhibits may be headed in the same direction. Its incredible to imagine that a single artist could make more than a billion dollars in his or her own lifetime.

Unlike Tiger Woods, Damien doesn't even need to practice his craft himself. He can direct most of it and let a team do the hard work. Tiger is only as good as his coordination on the golf course.

Here's a video of Damien talking about his work.

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