I started reading this book thinking, should I just feel sorry for this guy? Richard Polsky is telling his sad story of selling out his green Warhol "Fright Wig" painting.
The reason: To keep his wife!!!
"A woman who never met a shop she didn´t like"
Well, he did not get to keep either. He sold the painting for $320,000 at an Auction. A few years later another "Fright Wig" painting ended up selling for 1.2 million pounds and his wife went out the door with a few bags from Chanel. Ouch, that hurts!
It is not a flattering picture of the art industry Mr. Polsky is portraying. He says:
I used to say the art business was like high school with money.
But I was wrong. It was more like grade school with money.
I feel a little tired of the Warhol hysteria to be quite honest. In 2006 the 32 soup can pictures were in theory worth around $375 million (owned by MoMa). The first time it was shown to the public, the gallery next door put 32 cans in their window and wrote "Free" on it. Controversy aside, I see his importance in art history, but still all that money? Is it not a little too sickening?
Mr. Polsky describes how collectors work on keeping the prices high for what they collect also how hard it is for a new collector to be allowed, to buy a piece of art by a famous artist, there could be a "waiting list". A new collector might have to buy an inferior piece before it will be allowed to buy from the cream. This is not considering Art auctions of course, where you just bid yourself to the top. He also describes the hardship of being an art dealer and a gallery in the age of Auction house domination.
I enjoyed his honesty. But, I do not want to be one of those that he writes about.
And you don´t want to be any of these:
Acronyms for annoying individuals in the art business:
B.W.O.T. - Big waste of time- used to describe a client who´s basically a cheapskate - common in the business.
S.C.A.D. - Sexually confused art dealer - self- explanatory- Very common in the business.
O.F.U. - Zero follow - up- a dealer who puts a deal in play and then fails to follow through on the details - exceedingly common in the business.