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一锤定音:赫斯特、班克斯和改变艺术的拍卖

更新时间:2019/2/27 20:43:23 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Hammer time: Hirst, Banksy and the auctions that changed art
一锤定音:赫斯特、班克斯和改变艺术的拍卖

“Roger Federer can’t have a bad day on Centre Court, but in our business you can’t have a bad half-day,” says Oliver Barker, the chairman of Sotheby’s Europe. “If you blink, you’ve missed something.”

“费德勒(Roger Federer)在中央球场每天都不能有闪失,但在我们这个行当,半天的闪失都不行,”苏富比欧洲区主席巴克(Oliver Barker)说。“如果你眨眨眼,就会错过一些东西。”

The stakes are high. As auction houses vie for a greater slice of market share, spectacle has increasingly triumphed over scholarship. In November 2017, after much marketing hype, Christie’s sold Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi for an astonishing $450.3m in New York. In October 2018, the British street artist Banksy appeared to try and wrestle back control, shredding his Girl with Balloon as the canvas hammered at Sotheby’s in London for £1.042m.

风险很大。为了争夺更大的市场份额,各家拍卖行无所不用其极创造知名度。2017年11月,经过大量的市场宣传,佳士得在纽约以4.503亿美元的惊人价格,售出了达·芬奇(Leonardo da Vinci)的《救世主》(Salvator Mundi)。2018年10月,英国街头艺术家班克斯(Banksy)似乎想要夺回控制权,在他的作品《女孩与气球》(Girl with Balloon)在伦敦苏富比以104.2万英镑成交后,他将这件画作切成条状。

Barker was on the rostrum that fateful night, describing the prank as it unfolded as “a brilliant Banksy moment”. In truth, Barker was initially caught unaware. “I’ve got to be honest, to begin with I didn’t think it was a Banksy moment, I thought maybe it had slipped out of the frame,” he says.

在那个引发世人强烈关注的夜晚,巴克站在讲台上,把这个恶作剧描述为“班克斯的辉煌时刻”。事实上,巴克一开始并不知情。他说:“说实话,一开始我并不认为那是班克斯的时刻,我还以为是画从画框里掉下来了。”

“And then of course the alarm went off, and it was while everyone’s phones came out and there were gasps that I realised, this is absolute genius, it’s a great Banksy moment.”

“然后,警报当然就响了,当每个人都掏出手机、倒抽一口气的时候,我突然意识到,这绝对是个天才,这是一个了不起的班克斯时刻。”

Barker himself has had his moments. It was while going to work on the bus that he, then a director in Sotheby's contemporary department, spotted the potential for a deal which would result in the 2004 sale of the contents of Damien Hirst’s failed Pharmacy restaurant and bar in Notting Hill.

班克斯在Instagram上贴了一段视频,讲述《爱在垃圾桶里》(Love is in the Bin)这件作品的前前后后。巴克本人也有自己的辉煌时刻。在他还是苏富比当代艺术部的主管时,一次坐公交车上班的路上,发现了一笔可能的交易,最终促成了2004年赫斯特(Damien Hirst)在诺丁山经营失败的药房餐厅酒吧的物品大拍卖。

“I was looking out of the window and saw that the restaurant was clearly shut, there was a removals van outside, and I suddenly thought, 'wow, that could be an amazing auction.'”

“我从车窗往外看,发现餐厅显然关门了,外面有一辆搬家车,我突然想,‘哇,这可能是一场不错的拍卖。’”

A series of breakfast meetings at the Wolseley restaurant with Hirst’s manager Frank Dunphy followed. “Damien’s initial reaction was, 'oh God, auction houses are the Antichrist.' If Damien was punk rock, then we were very much classical music,” Barker says.

随后,他在沃尔斯利餐厅(Wolseley)与赫斯特的经纪人邓菲(Frank Dunphy)进行了一次又一次的早餐会谈。巴克说,“赫斯特一开始的反应是,‘哦,天呐,拍卖行是基督的敌人。’如果赫斯特是朋克摇滚,那我们就是古典音乐。”

Hirst changed his mind the morning after the 2004 Momart warehouse fire that destroyed hundreds of works by British artists, including several of Hirst’s spot and butterfly paintings. “I got a call from Frank telling me that Damien thought it was a sign; he’d got out alive and he wanted to do the sale,” Barker says.

2004年,莫马特(Momart)的仓库发生火灾,烧毁了数百件英国艺术家的作品,其中就包括赫斯特的几幅斑点画和蝴蝶画。“我接到邓菲的电话,他告诉我赫斯特认为这是个征兆;他突然悟出来了,想做那个拍卖,”巴克说。

The Pharmacy items - menus, chairs, tables, lighting, even the ashtrays - had been stored elsewhere. In a stroke of good fortune, Dunphy had picked up the rubbish dump-bound fixtures and fittings at the last minute from the restaurant's new owners for £50,000.

药房餐厅里的物品——菜单、椅子、桌子、灯,甚至烟灰缸——都存放在别的地方。邓菲在最后一刻以5万英镑的价格,从餐馆的新主人手里买下了准备扔进垃圾堆的设备和摆设。

The 'white-glove' sale - an auction in which every single lot sells - was a runaway success, racking up £11.1 million on an expected £3 million. The first lot, a pair of Martini glasses designed by Hirst, which had been estimated at £50-£70, fetched £4,000.

那次“白手套”拍卖——指一场达到百分之百成交率的拍卖——取得了巨大的成功,预估成交金额是300万英镑,实际成交额为1110万英镑。第一件拍品是赫斯特设计的一对马提尼玻璃酒杯,估价在50英镑到70英镑之间,最后以4000英镑成交。

“As an auctioneer, I was totally hooked,” Barker says. “For Damien, it shot him overnight into a whole different galaxy.”

“作为一名拍卖师,我完全入迷了,”巴克说。“对赫斯特来说,这把他一夜之间推进了一个完全不同的高度。”

The highly unusual sale also paved the way for Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, Hirst’s 2008 auction, which saw the artist sell 223 new pieces straight from the studio.

这次极不寻常的拍卖,也为赫斯特2008年的“美丽在我脑海中永存”(Beautiful Inside My Head Forever)拍卖会铺平了道路。那次拍卖会售出了这位艺术家工作室中223件新作品。

The same evening, Lehman Brothers went bust, triggering an implosion of global stock markets. “It was a major risk,” Barker says. “We were all thinking whether we could pull it off.”

同一天晚上,雷曼兄弟(Lehman Brothers)破产,引发全球股市崩盘。“这是一个很大的风险,”巴克说。“我们都在担心是否能够成功。”

“I remember clearly, because I had never seen her in one of our auctions before, but Bianca Jagger arrived, and she was sitting on the front row. She was looking at me, somewhat stony-faced. I could almost hear the knives being sharpened.”

“我记得很清楚,因为我以前从未在我们的拍卖会上见过贾格尔(Bianca Jagger,译者注:前著名演员,人权活动家、慈善家),但她来了,就坐在第一排。她看着我,面无表情。我仿佛听到了霍霍的磨刀声。”

The sale exceeded all expectations, fetching £111.4 million over two days, setting a record for a single-artist auction. The ballsy move, which bypassed the usual middle-men, also heralded a sea-change in the auction world, much to the chagrin of art dealers.

销售超出了所有人的预期,两天卖了1.114亿英镑,创下了单个艺术家的拍卖记录。这一大胆的举动——绕过了通常的中间商,也预示着拍卖界将发生翻天覆地的变化,令艺术品中间商懊恼不已。

As Barker observes: “The biggest transformation in the auction business over the past 60 years, arguably, has been our ability to go direct to the consumers.”

正如巴克所言:“可以说,过去60年拍卖行业最大的转变,就是我们能够直接面向消费者。”

Composed and quick-witted, Barker is a natural with the gavel, but the auction business was not his first choice. “My mother was in advertising and I was desperate to get into that, but failed miserably,” he says with a wry smile. “My best friend’s father took me aside and said, ‘why are you pursuing advertising when clearly, art is what you’re good at and what you love?’”

巴克沉着、机智,天生适合当拍卖员,但拍卖行业并非他的首选。“我母亲从事广告行业,我非常想进入那个行业,但失败得很惨,”他苦笑着说。“我好友的父亲把我拉到一边说,‘显然艺术才是你擅长和热爱的东西,为什么要去广告行业?’”

With that, Barker decided to return to university, studying his masters at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. It was then he first witnessed the drama of the saleroom. “Sotheby’s was holding a Picasso ceramics sale; for the first time I saw art and commerce together. It was a lightbulb moment,” he says.

于是,巴克决定重返大学,在伦敦的考陶德艺术学院(Courtauld Institute of Art)攻读硕士学位。就在那时,他第一次亲眼目睹了拍卖会的戏剧性场面。“苏富比正在举办毕加索的陶瓷作品拍卖会,我第一次看到艺术和商业紧密联系在一起。这是一个让人茅塞顿开的时刻,”他说。

After graduating from the Courtauld, Barker gained experience in Sotheby’s impressionist and modern department–first in London and later in Paris, where he worked on the 1995 sale of the Man Ray estate.

从考陶德艺术学院毕业后,巴克在苏富比的印象派和现代派艺术部门积累了经验——先是在伦敦,后来是在巴黎,1995年他在那里参与了曼·雷(Man Ray)作品拍卖会。

At that time, the contemporary art market was still somewhat niche, so Barker continued to cut his teeth selling more historical pieces, working his way up from cataloguer to head of day sales in just seven years. Despite the freedom (“you could make bigger decisions and move really fast”) and bringing in £30m a year in sales, Barker sensed change was afoot.

那会儿,当代艺术市场还是一个小众市场,所以巴克还是以销售更多历史艺术作品为主,在短短七年时间里,他从编目员一路晋升为日拍主管。尽管手里有很大的自由度(可以做出更大的决定,而且可以非常迅速地行动),一年下来的销售额可以做到3000万英镑,巴克还是感觉到正在发生变化。

“It was really exciting until the point I realised I wasn’t so interested in dealing with only dead artists. Ultimately, I wanted to be dealing with the art of my time,” he says.

“这真的很令人兴奋,但直到有一天,我发现对于只出售已故艺术家的作品失去了兴趣。最终,我还是想为同时代的艺术工作,”他说。

In 2000, an offer came for Barker to launch New York dealer Larry Gagosian’s first London gallery, an offer Barker “seriously considered” but ultimately declined. Instead, he moved into Sotheby’s contemporary art department.

在2000年,巴克收到一份工作邀约,请他去筹办纽约经销商高古轩(Larry Gagosian)在伦敦的第一家画廊。巴克“认真考虑”了这个邀请,但最后还是拒绝了。他去了苏富比的当代艺术部。

“In the first few months, I thought I’d made a huge mistake. It was like going from the Premier League to the Conference,” says Barker, a lifelong Tottenham Hotspur fan. “If you were really lucky, you would get a Gerhard Richter once in a while, or an Andy Warhol, but it was principally bad European abstract art from the 1950s and 1960s.”

“在最初的几个月里,我觉得自己犯了一个大错。就像从英超跑去打足协联赛,”巴克说,他是托特纳姆热刺队的终身球迷。“如果你够幸运的话,偶尔会得到一件里希特(Gerhard Richter)或者安迪·沃霍尔(Andy Warhol)的作品,但主要还是20世纪五、六十年代糟糕的欧洲抽象艺术作品。”

And then came that Damien Hirst epiphany. Since then, post-war and contemporary art has gone on to dominate the sector.

然后,就是赫斯特的顿悟。从那以后,战后和当代艺术开始主导这个领域。

As Sotheby’s celebrates its 275th anniversary in 2019, the auction business looks to be more in flux than ever. A recent slew of high-profile departures from Christie’s and, to a lesser extent, Sotheby’s has raised the question of burn-out at the top, while significant growth in online sales and the proliferation of blockchain start-ups have posed other issues.

2019年,苏富比将迎来275岁生日,拍卖行业似乎比以往任何时候都更不稳定。最近,佳士得一系列高层人事变动(一定程度上,苏富比也有同样的现象)引起了对高层流失的质疑,而在线销售的显着增长和区块链初创企业的激增,也带来了其他问题。

Barker observes digital to be by far the biggest area of growth in the auction world, with 60% of new bidders at Sotheby’s in 2018 doing so online.

巴克认为,数字领域是拍卖行业迄今为止增长最快的领域,2018年苏富比60%的新竞拍者都是在网上竞拍。

“The scale is swinging radically towards the online bidding options,” he says. One of the big online retailers such as eBay or Amazon could even challenge the traditional Christie’s and Sotheby’s duopoly, Barker suggests.

他说:“天平正朝着在线竞标急剧转变。”他认为,eBay或亚马逊(Amazon)等大型在线零售商,甚至有可能挑战佳士得和苏富比这样传统的双头垄断。

So, what are Barker’s predictions for the future? Blockchain was a buzzword in 2018, but its potential to revolutionise the art market has been hotly debated. “The train is coming, we just don’t really know what it’s going to look like in its mature form,” Barker opines.

那么,巴克对未来有什么预测?2018年,区块链是流行词,但它彻底改变艺术品市场的潜力一直备受争议。巴克认为,“区块链大发展的时机就要到了,只是我们不知道它的成熟形式会是什么样子。”

He also raises the question of artificial intelligence (AI) following claims that a London firm hosted the first property sale to be concluded by an AI auctioneer in October. “Could auctioneers be taken over by some sort of machine? Probably, yes.

他还提出了人工智能(AI)的问题。此前,伦敦一家公司去年10月首次由人工智能拍卖师完成房地产拍卖。“拍卖师能被某种机器取代吗?也许,会。”

This could be a really interesting development. Even two years ago, people scoffed at the idea of self-driving cars, but now they are a reality. In terms of the art world, we’ll see.”

“这可能是一个非常有趣的发展。甚至在两年前,人们对自动驾驶汽车还嗤之以鼻,但现在,它们已变成了现实。至于在艺术界,我们等着瞧。”

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