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All this tentative handling of what might be bad news is the flip side of the secrecy which runs the art world. Failing businesses normally shout their demises from the rooftops: 90% OFF! EVERYTHING MUST GO! But the art world, with its very private faux gentility, must coat itself with the germ-killing hand-cleanser of denial. It is an emotion as old as civilization, shame, and it is driven by shame's shameless purveyors, the self-regarding wealthy, quick to snap you up when things are hot and the first to deep-freeze you when things go cold.

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