Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World

An overview of the major players in the contemporary art market and of the economic factors that motivate those individuals and institutions.

In the today's contemporary art world, the lines between museums, galleries, art dealers, auction houses, artists and collectors have blurred; galleries are curating  museum-quality shows with no works for sale; collectors are opening their own museums; the world’s richest artist bypasses his gallery and sells directly to collectors. What constitutes price and value of painting? Why some artist’s rock stars and others are flame out after a major launch? How is the art market soaring through economic recession? Have the auction houses and dealers colluded to create a market and artificially set prices? How did a controversial global art dealer like Larry Gagosian become larger than a museum like The Tate?

In what could be a page from Tom Wolfe's 1980s satire The Bonfire of the Vanities, the most powerful plutocrats on the planet bought 56  new works of art by Damien Hirst at Sotheby for  £70.5 million - just hours after news had filtered through that Lehman Brothers had gone bankrupt. By the end of the two-day sale, Hirst had made £111.5 million. The contrast between exorbitant profit and the woeful economic outlook for the rest of the world could not have been more dramatic.

Blurred Lines is a fast paced and stylish series that explores the secretive world of art where banks keep failing, stock markets plunge and yet the art trade appears to be invulnerable, as dealers, gallery owners and collectors pour into exhibition openings every night of the week. Blurred Lines will be an in-depth examination, a 'behind-the-scenes look through the eyes from key players such as dealers, auctioneers, collectors, galleries and the artists themselves.  We will see the power plays as dealers squabble over prime locations for their booths at art fairs, collectors being cajoled to acquire a new 'masterpiece' and big auctions that are highly stylised ceremonies of cocksure strutting. This will be like a David Attenborough wildlife documentary transposed to the maddening but intoxicating world of contemporary art with a satirical twist.