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‘Nervous’ Art World Faces Reality

“Everything is negative.”

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Takashi Murakami, a big beneficiary of the recent art-world boom, is facing its bust: One of his giant sculptures sold for $15.2 million at Sotheby's in May; earlier this month, another one failed to attract a bidder at Phillips de Pury & Co.’s London sale. “It is the reality,” the artist said at a Pratt gala on October 16. “Everyone is very nervous. Everything is negative.” Would he follow Damien Hirst’s lead and sell directly at auction? “The market is very slow right now, so no one’s asking me,” Murakami said, whistling and gesturing a plummet. But he doesn’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. “There’s too much money in contemporary art,” he said. “Maybe now we can have a conversation about the concepts.”

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