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Damien Hirst Bites All Hands

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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NO LONGER SWIMMING WITH SHARKS? Hirst (Photo: Getty Images) Damien Hirst will auction off most of his major new works through Sotheby's in London in mid-September—instead of selling them through his high-end New York and London dealers. Spin paintings! Tiger sharks! A zebra! And what if you're a dealer, what do you do when your big-ticket star artist renounces the high-commission gallery system for an auction house? Well, you suck it up and show up with a paddle and start buying. But don't pity Jay Jopling and Larry Gagosian—despite having to, over the years, front massive production costs and deal with crises in international shipping that would make Aristotle Onassis weep, they've also made a fortune.

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