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New Market Strategies

By Don J. Cohn

Commercial fallout for some, but not all

ZHANG XIAOGANG, Bloodline: Big Family No. 1, 1994, 150 x 179 cm. Courtesy Sotheby's, Hong Kong.

From a financial perspective, September 2008 seemed like a miserable time to be selling contemporary art at auction. One would think that the distractions—the monstrous Wall Street collapses, the monotonous US presidential campaign, devastating hurricanes, mortgage mortalities, a moderately clean but terrifying Beijing Olympics—would make the hottest art seemed like so much cold fast food. But then billionaire Damien Hirst’s pickled…

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