Friday, March 25, 2011

The $12 Million Stuffed Shark

The curious Economics of Contemporary Art
Don Thompson

This book is well read, well travelled, torned, scribbled in and lived with from New York to London.
With that, it doesn't mean that it will take as long for you to read it as it did for me.... 

During my "lifetime" with this book I did have the feeling at certain times that "through this book I will learn it all!" All about the intricate business of ART. I probably do not need to read another book about Art Business after this one.... just view and view Art....
But, as with everything, as soon as you skim the surface you know there is an ocean below.

Here comes some of the highlights from the "Shark in the water" book... as my two year old says when he sees it, since his favorite song to dance to is "Shark in the Water" by V.V. Brown (just had to write that...)

Ok... here we go with some of the hits:

"Modern Art is merely the means by which we terrorize ourselves"
              -Tracy Emin

"Never understand how insecure buyers are about contemporary art, and how much they always need reassurance"
               - Howard Rutkowski (Bonhams auctioners)

"You are nobody in contemporary art until you have been branded"

"What the rich seem to want to acquire is what economists call positional goods; things that prove to the rest of the world that they really are rich"

"I had reservations about making art a business, but I got over it."
              -Mary Boone, New York Dealer

"Artists who do not find mainstream gallery representation within a year or two of graduation are unlikely ever to achieve high prices or see their work appear at fairs or auctions or in art magazines."

"It takes a certain amount of nerve to act as though one knows what is good or, more important, what will be deemed good in the future. It's an article of faith in the art world that some people have an eye for it and some people don't; the disagreement arises over which do or don't"
            -Nick Paumgarten 

"In 1991, Saatchi funded and Hirst created 'The physical impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living'.... "I like the idea of a thing to describe a feeling. A shark is frightening, bigger than you are, in an environment unknown to you. It looks alive when it's dead and dead when it's alive"

"Hirst titles are an integral part of marketing his work"

"There are no rules about investment. Sharks can be good. Artist's dung can be good. Oil on canvas can be good. There's a squad of conservators out there to look after anything an artist decides is art.
            - Charles Saatchi

"Art is sexy! Art is money-sexy! Art is money-sexy-social-climbing-fantastic!"
              -Thomas Hoving, Former Dir. at the Met

I could go on and on but the weekend is coming up... and there are actually plenty of new books on my desk hungry for attention.

Yes to ART in the SPRING
With Weekend Love


  1. the last quote is my favorite... have a great weekend!

  2. ha! i love that last quote. Happy friday :)

  3. Awesome post, darling!
    Love all these quotes!


  4. that book sounds SO good. I want to read it and I'm not even an art connoisseu! I love the quotes.

  5. It's a realistic description of the market of art, just marketing !
    We can also say with Hans Haacke : " Framing and Being Framed " !
    It' s just only a question of power.
    Good week end !

  6. De fineste bøkene er de som er skikkelig utslitte og man kan se at de settes skikkelig pris på! Og noen herlige sitater her :)

    Ha en finfin helg!

  7. Thanks Kristin for the good advice that I did not know!
    See if I can find here!
    I wish you a happy weekend


  8. "Artists who do not find mainstream gallery representation within a year or two of graduation are unlikely ever to achieve high prices or see their work appear at fairs or auctions or in art magazines."

    I have a lot of friends who will be disappointed to hear that, haha! :P

  9. What a wonderful book! I like that it is so well worn, you clearly love it.

  10. That book sounds like a great read and those quotes are totally spot on. Have a lovely afternoon, sweetie

  11. Yes, I think Sarah it is a bit early to be judged right after having finished college. Many artists needs years to develop. It is rough competition and conditions out there!

  12. Love that second to last quote! How is it decided that art is art?