Damien Hirst: Jumping the Shark

Pricing fine art might seem like a preoccupation of the wealthy few, but it’s of interest to economists, who see it as a way to test fundamental questions about value. As Mugrabi points out, the market behaves in unusual ways: Demand for an artist’s work tends to rise as prices do, because the more expensive it becomes, the more status it confers. And while value is usually a function of scarcity, the opposite can be true for artists—some great ones, like Warhol and Picasso, left behind a prolific body of work. The most unpredictable thing about art’s valuation, though, is that it’s entirely in the eye of the beholder.

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