One more thing. Reading about the Christie's auction -- where a Peter Doig work sold for $10.1 million, indicating that Doig "seems to be weathering his recession-era testing nicely" -- reminded me of something from 2 years ago, when dealer Daniella Luxembourg was warning collectors about overvalued art: "Luxembourg wouldn't name 'overhyped' artists. Marketing -- by auction houses, museums, art fairs -- spreads knowledge as well as carries risks, she said. Richard Prince, Peter Doig...have had rapid price spikes that may make them vulnerable if the market turns down."
And at Sotheby's, "The market for Richard Prince survived its first major test since the recession. In July 2008, one of his pulpy images of a blond nurse sold for a record $8.4 million. Tonight, a brunette nurse in green, 'Doctor's Nurse,' was priced to sell for at least $1 million. Mr. Mugrabi got it for $1.7 million."
Maybe everyone is wrong. Maybe art isn't an economic indicator in the way we thought it was. I'm now almost completely convinced that these healthy prices should scare us. Instead of "shaking off the recession," the wealthy are hunkering down and the rest of us are all 10 different kinds of screwed.