The work of Andy Warhol did very well at Sotheby's last night, thus propping up hopes for a rebounding art market. The early silkscreen 200 One Dollar Bills sold for $43.7 million. This piece was originally in the collection of Robert Scull, so the provenance is absolutely rock solid. Things look bright for Warhol collectors.
I don't mean to rain on your parade but there is some thunder and lightining hiding in those silver linings. Pay close attention to Simon v. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc., 07-CV-6423, Southern District of New York - Manhattan. http://jklfa.blogspot.com/2009_03_01_archive.html. Last I heard that case was going forward and The Andy Warhol Foundation was going to have to produce documents for discovery. That is a nightmare for the Foundation, art dealers, and collectors. Nobody pretends to know how the Foundation authenticates anything, that includes the authenticators. What goes on at the Foundation? I get the sense that the art market cannot handle the truth, to paraphase Jack Nicholson.
The Warhol case coupled with the leaks regarding Obama's copyright treaty (see http://www.boingboing.net/2009/11/03/secret-copyright-tre.html) highlights the fact that issues of copyright and authenticity are in the process of radical change in the digital age, despite efforts to cling to old concepts. Things fall apart, the center cannot hold. We are going to have to re-think how we approach these foundational issues of print and visual culture.