Image via DC Comics.

Roundup: A 'Bloodbath' at DC Comics; A New Way to Track Art-World Hype
Rupa Bhattacharya

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What’s Going On At DC Comics?

Earlier this week, DC Comics was rocked by a giant wave of layoffs, leading to concern and speculation about what this means for the industry giant (and the industry at large).

Approximately a third of editorial staff were affected, including many senior staffers (and the editor in chief), as well the team responsible for the company’s successful forays into both graphic novels and YA literature. Sources describe the AT&T/Time Warner merger as a catalyst for the layoffs; major cuts were also made to the DC Universe streaming platform team, a somewhat anticipated move after the merger and subsequent launch of HBO Max.

Also of note is the complete elimination of DC Direct, the section of the company responsible for merchandise and collectibles, which had existed for more than 2 decades.

Coming on the heels of their separation from distribution powerhouse Diamond, there’s some speculation that this means that DC will be placing its focus on comics that don’t need to be printed; other interpretations suggest we’re in for fewer titles altogether, with a big focus on heavy hitters (like Batman and Justice League). No matter what, it’s a sad week for an industry already reeling from the pandemic.

Phillips Premieres a New Way to Track Who’s Hot in Art

Auction house Phillips just announced a new product with the potential to make it a lot easier to keep tabs on emerging artists. Called Articker, the data tool monitors media mentions of artists and ranks them according to who is generating the most buzz at the moment. 

Notably, the tool’s algorithm does not factor auction data into its results, instead aggregating data daily from an open-source database of approximately 16,000 online sources to gauge who’s being talked about online. 

As a result, it could well make it significantly easier to figure out who is on the rise -- even, in some cases, before an artist has secured gallery representation.

Phillips says the tool — currently only being used internally at the house, but soon to be available to clients — will democratize access to information beyond auction results and provide a “holistic view of an artist’s place within the market.”

Of Interest

• The “North American Maximalism” of Drake and Gigi Hadid’s home decor.

• Gagosian’s COO says virtual exhibitions are like “Grand Theft Auto without the thrills.”

• 1,800 pairs of fake Dior AJ1s were just seized by CBP

• A brief guide to comic book art styles

• The impact of Beirut’s deadly explosions on the city’s art world.

• The Superman musical that almost was

• Inside Quavo’s enviable sneaker collection

• How Barbara Kruger became one of the most famous artists of this current moment

News From the Otis Collection

• Artist CJ Hendry is taking on Tracey Emin’s neons for the next installment of her COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT series. 

• Basquiat, Derrick Adams, and the art that predated Black Lives Matter

• After controversies, Virgil Abloh explains what he’s doing to support Black creatives.

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