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Dispatches

Art-world rebel Damien Hirst, by the numbers; cultivating a taste for greatness in Ethiopian coffee; on the road with the spirit of Mark Twain; a Swiss watchmaker whose time has come; woking and talking with Katie Leclerc

 

PAINT BY NUMBERS

 

Damien Hirst may have dissected cows, covered a skull with diamonds and publicly admitted that his assistants make his trademark “Spot” paintings, but perhaps the most controversial aspect of this mega-artist’s career has been his deft manipulation of one of the least-regulated investment markets in the world. Graphing the value of his work reveals a pattern that is, essentially, an exaggeration of other economic indexes’ ups and downs. As Hirst prepares for his first major U.K. retrospective next month at London’s Tate Modern, how will his index respond? One can assume he has that figured out already. —SAM POLCER

ILLUSTRATION BY KELLI ANDERSON

One Response to “Dispatches”

  1. James Hayes-Bohanan Says:
    March 13th, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Thank you for including this report — far too few people recognize the human stories behind coffee and the many other consumables that the world economy brings to us from around the world.

    It is appropriate that you use the phrase “strike gold.” It brings to mind the 2006 film Black Gold, also about the high stakes involved in finding premium markets for Ethiopian coffee.

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