Wall Street's masters of the universe may be fixated on a government bailout/handout, but Russian oligarchs have picked up their slack in buying up the world's priciest houses, dating supermodels and amassing all the Faberge eggs and Damien Hirsts the global art market can offer. The director of London's Gagosian Gallery says that buyers from Russia and the former Soviet Union now make up nearly half of Gagosian's total sales worldwide. Maybe it's time for Larry to start brushing up on his Russian? [Bloomberg]
Have you heard? Soon you'll be able to call up art wonder Damien Hirst directly to purchase his terribly overpriced, overhyped work. Hirst "is causing even more of a stir with this auction because he's cutting out art dealer middlemen, and selling directly to collectors. Dealers take 40 to 60 percent of an artist's sale, but in this case his two big dealers in New York and London, Jay Jopling and Larry Gagosian, gave their blessings to his radical steps to shut them out." Blessings? Oh, sure, Gagosian sounds thrilled. [NYP]
The most powerful figure on the contemporary art scene, Larry Gagosian owns a stable of galleries in New York, Los Angeles, London and other branch locations worldwide. Gagosian grew up in middle-class Los Angeles. His less-than-glamorous entry into the art business came when he began peddling posters near the UCLA campus. He soon turned towards the higher-end of the market, though, opening a gallery in LA and eventually advising wealthy collectors on their acquisitions. His first New York break was a small loft gallery he opened in SoHo in the late '70s. By the early '80s, he emerged as one of the city's hottest dealers, with close ties to rising stars like Jean-Michel Basquiat. Gagosian moved his entire operation to New York in 1985. His relationship with Leo Castelli, the famed gallerist who repped the likes of Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein, vaulted him to the top of the scene. Gagosian soon found himself bidding on behalf of some of the biggest collectors in town. Gagosian expanded his business substantially in the 1990s and opened several new spaces. Today he presides over three galleries in New York, two in London, and others in Los Angeles, Rome, Athens, Paris, Geneva, and Hong Kong.