13 October 2015

Good Reading: The $12 Million Stuffed Shark - The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art by Don Thompson

(If you are getting bored with book reviews then just imagine how bored I am with nothing to write about but books. Someday in the future I'll Do Things again but for now this is all I got.)

This book is a superb (if somewhat dated) summary of the forces that drive the economics surrounding contemporary art. The contemporary art market does not make a lot of rational sense (just as art in general, and contemporary art in particular, does not often make rational sense), but that does not prevent the super rich from spending incredible fortunes on 'pieces' that are indistinguishable from garbage. Or are, in fact, made of garbage.

Thompson does a good job examining the subject without injecting commentary about the validity of certain art pieces as 'art', such as a leather jacket thrown in the corner that sold for tens of thousands of dollars. Instead he asks (and answers) probing questions of why anyone would pay millions of dollars for what is basically bullshit.

The short answer is that rich people are not like you and I, and they literally have more money than they can spend. As such the driving forces are ego and exclusivity, and also a market that is designed to continually inflate the market, protect the sellers and auction houses and continue perpetuating the illusion that any of this expensive useless garbage is anything but, you know, garbage.

Highly recommended.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You should watch Exit Through the Gift Shop. Streams on Netflix.