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Gago a No-Show at Hirst Blowout Sale

Auction a threat to dealer?

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Damien Hirst bypassed his dealers and went straight to the billionaire public with his money-minting London auction last week, where 223 pieces went for $200.7 million. Nonetheless, Larry Gagosian, who’s shown the British superstar since 1996, had promised to be there, “paddle in hand.” But in the end, Gagosian was a no-show; he went to Moscow for the debut of a new exhibition space there instead. His show in the long-shuttered Red October Chocolate Factory, which opened the day after the Hearst sale, features artists like Willem de Kooning, Cy Twombly, and Takashi Murakami. A spokesman for the dealer said Gagosian timed it to coincide with the opening of Daria Zhukova’s new contemporary-art museum; Zhukova’s the girlfriend of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, one of the world’s leading art collectors. But, notably, Gagosian’s plans didn’t change until Murakami, whom he also represents, said he might follow Hirst’s lead and go direct to auction with his sales.

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