Serendipity!Â Â Â About one month apart comes news of two different â€“ and successful – approaches by artists intent to reach their publics direct, bypassing any agent, gallery owner, or other middleman.
I discovered the first on a plane back from Vienna in an article in The EconomistÂ detailingÂ a two-day auction of artist Damien Hirstâ€™s newest works.Â Â (The article appearedÂ last month on the day Lehman Brothers collapsed.)Â The experimental sale ofÂ Â pieces by the artist well-known for variousÂ works featuring a shark as icon, took place at Sothebyâ€™s in London; it was preceded byÂ â€œunprecedentedÂ public interestâ€ in the week prior to the sale, with 21,000 visitors coming to view the sale preview in an eleven-day period.
The Hirst sale included at last one bidding war via telephone, andÂ netted an amazing total of 178 million dollars.Â Â ( Damien HirstÂ himself was not present at the first evening, understandably finding the occasion â€œtoo stressfulâ€.Â )
The second item is from todayâ€™s NY Times Magazine, titled Painting by Numbers.
Two art directors in the NY ad business,Â haveÂ web-based art enterprise which sells original works and began by selling to a targeted list ofÂ folks who were their internet contacts.Â The novelty here is that the artworks â€“ minimal, â€˜iconicâ€™ in look -Â each carry realistic price-tags, mostly quite low;Â and the subject of each painting is a portrait of the thing the makers wish to buy with the proceeds of the sale.Â ExamplesÂ of their works already sold:Â bottle of aspirin;Â plane ticket; hotel room for a night in Las Vegas; new bikini; good luck (this picture was free !).
Each of these enterprises appeals to a quite differentiatedÂ group of buyers ( big bucks /Â Â modest bucks).Â Both appear to be successful.
What kind of lesson lurks here for composers — ?
â€œLâ€™audace, toujours lâ€™audace!â€ â€“ Georges Danton