Do the Young British Artists Rule (or: Has London Stolen the Idea of Postmodern Art from New York?): Evidence from the Auction Market
NBER Working Paper No. 11715
In recent years, some English critics have claimed that Damien Hirst and his fellow young British artists have made London the new center of the advanced art world. As Hirst reaches the age of 40, this paper uses auction results to measure the importance of the YBAs compared to their American peers. Auction prices show that the YBAs do rule over their American rivals: both Hirst and the English painter Chris Ofili have had individual works sell for more than $1 million, a level no American artist under 40 has achieved. Whether London can continue its success will depend in part on whether it can match New York's ability to attract important artists born in other countries.