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Quick Hits: Art Buyers Brace for Slowdown

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Brief scrutiny of today's headlines

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Art speculators are hoping they'll be better prepared than their real estate brethren if theirs is the next bubble to pop.

With uncertainty plaguing financial markets, investors are turning to paintings, sculptures and other works of art as safehouses for their wealth. Fortune reports a February charity event organized by U2 frontman Bono raked in $42.6 million, almost 50% more than auction house Sotheby's (BID) predicted.

Collectors are moving cautiously, however, avoiding overly hyped artists and focusing on rare or unique pieces from around the world.

In 1989 as well as 1999, weak economic conditions hit contemporary art especially hard. Less is known about how well newer art will hold its value and many suspect it's more susceptible to price fluctuations than are classic pieces. You just never know whether giant ceramic fetuses will be in vogue.




Or pink tanks.



Or elephants made of guns.



Or autographed urinals.

No positions in stocks mentioned.

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