SOMERVILLE, Mass. — Ending not with a bang but a whimper, the last bit of legal wrangling in the case that pitted collector Marc Jancou against Cady Noland and Sotheby’s was quietly settled on November 11.
Regulation in the world of art commerce is a troublesome word.
Yesterday’s critique of Allison Schrager’s art market takedown in Quartz was about something that is ultimately quite simple: certain fictions about the exceptional irrationality or corruption of the art market are sustained for various reasons — from marginalized artists who would sooner believe that it is the art market, rather than the market entire, which is predisposed against them to financial journalists who want to legitimize their own lack of scrutiny for “the real economy” by using the art market as a straw man for “inefficient” or “corrupt” markets.
Last week, Atlantic Media’s business publication, Quartz, ran a 2200-word takedown of the art market by Allison Schrager. The story was accompanied by a helpful flowchart illustrating how deeply corrupt the art market is, and carries all the familiar signs of the minimally self-aware bloviation characteristic of the financial press. That Schrager, “an economist with a focus on pension issues,” seems to not quite be sure of anything she’s saying — the word “probably” appears with alarming regularity — is not the most repugnant quality of the piece.
This day may have been inevitable, but now it’s finally here. In its attempt to take over the world — or at least everything that can be bought and sold in the world, Amazon is launching an art gallery.
Channeling the conspiratorially unhinged salesmanship of a Cash 4 Gold pitchman, the New York Times ran a hilariously bad art market trend piece today — a story titled “As Money Props Up Art World, Prospects Are Mixed,” which portends to link macroeconomic trends with demand for art market investment vehicles. In its own imbecility it reveals a different sort of trend: the perpetual shortcomings in art market coverage, an area that often sees a minimum of rigor and a maximum of price-tag sensationalism at major newspapers.
This week, The Stranger‘s art critic, Jen Graves, wrote a blog post titled, “Should We List Prices With Art Reviews?” When I first saw the headline, I had a knee-jerk reaction to the effect of, “No!!”
As if we didn’t have enough trouble preserving the middle class, the middle of the art market is the latest topic of debate among members of the art world’s commercial side. Why is the high end of the art market constantly booming while the lower and middle sectors suffer?
As the New York Times convenes a debate over the possibility of an art market bubble in a letter to the editor, the news arrives that international art sales reached a grand total of $64 billion over the past year, reports Artlyst.
Puzzled. That’s a good word to describe my state of being for my first Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB). One of the primary things I learned is that art fairs can be fun — when you’re standing on the right side of the velvet rope and you have all the right RSVPs and a prepared partinerary printed out.
This doesn’t happen very often. It’s highly unusual for someone in an industry to critique its inner workings.
Wall Street Journal art market reporter Kelly Crow is probably one of the only journalists whom Larry Gagosian will talk money with — or talk to at all, really. The megadealer is known for rarely agreeing to interviews, so it’s always interesting to read what he has to say when he does grant them.