MEANING IN ART: Just what is it that makes today's galleries so different, so appealing?

Richard Hamilton, $he, 1958-61 
Oil, cellulose paint and collage on wood support

I was notified by Gagosian Gallery yesterday in an email that Richard Hamilton has passed away. I was both sad to hear about his passing and also grateful to read about Hamilton's life and the contributions he made, not just with Pop Art, but in particular the way he increased my awareness of the curves and colors that commerce uses to grab my attention.


But the announcement tripped on the starting block for me. Hyperlinking your gallery to someone's obituary in the first sentence seemed... well... tacky.  We all know that the death of an artist caps their production, therefore limiting their suite of works and ultimately raising their market value, right?  That Hamilton appropriated and critiqued the advertising world in his work makes this even more jarring.

Still, what's a gallerist to do when artists leave more and more of their personal affairs in the hands of their gallery; so much so that they may delegate every public relations task (including the announcement of their death) to the gallery's PR team?  Where does the representation of Richard Hamilton as an artist stop and where does his representation as a person begin?