Branded Collector

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. Except for sharing the characteristics of being very rich and being able to have their interest in an artist move the market for that artist's work, each of the best-known collectors of contemporary art seems to be unique. Most are American, a few European, some Russian, Asian, or Middle Eastern....

Branded Auctions

Works of art, which represent the highest level of spiritual production, will find favor in the eyes of the bourgeois only if they are presented as being liable to directly generate material wealth. Half an hour before an evening auction at Christie's or Sotheby's, in London or New York, black limousines sit two deep by the curb outside the auction house, engines idling like getaway cars in a modern Mafia movie. Many who arrive by car will not register for a paddle a numbered object the bidder...

Christies And Sothebys

There is more similarity in the marketing challenge of selling a precious painting by Degas and a frosted mug of root beer than you ever thought possible. A. Alfred Taubman, former controlling shareholder of Sotheby's Christie's and Sotheby's are the branded, value-adding auction houses. Their evening auctions create the headline-producing prices that distinguish the work of a very few contemporary artists. Inclusion of an artist's work in such auctions confers final legitimacy on that artist....

The Art Of The Dealer

Bernard Berenson the critic said to Bauer the antique dealer A man as scholarly as yourself shouldn't be a dealer, it's horrible to be a dealer. To which Bauer replied, Between you and me there's no difference I'm an intellectual dealer and you're a dealing intellectual. Berenson never forgave him that. Rene Gimpel, Diary of on Art Dealer We act as a sort of midwife trying to represent the desires of our artists and the needs of private collectors and museums. Brent Sikkema, New York dealer...

Warhol Koons And Emin

It is a great paradox of our times that visual culture should be vanishing even as the art market soars. Abstract concepts take precedence over what the eye sees. Artists' names matter ever more, and the art to which they are attached ever less. Souren Melikian, art journalist Jeff Koons made banality blue chip, pornography avant-garde, and tchotchkes into trophy art, with the support of a small circle of dealers and collectors. Damien Hirst has generated publicity and high prices for the...

Branding And Insecurity

What is Christie's A brand of painting Answer by Jacobe, age seven, quoted in Judith Benhamou-Huet, The Worth of Art Modern art is merely the means by which we terrorize ourselves. Tracey Emm, artist The first great insight from my art world meetings came from Howard Rutkowski, formerly a specialist at Sotheby's, now a director of Bonhams auctioneers in London. Never underestimate how insecure buyers are about contemporary art, and how much they always need reassurance. This is a truth that...

Damien Hirst And The Shark

Becoming a brand name is an important part of life. It's the world we live in. Damien Hirst, artist 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, Days and Nights in Leo Koenig's Gallery, The New Yorker an art career can be. Britain's Sunday...

Choosing An Auction Hammer

This is business, it ain't art history. Brett Gorvy, deputy chairman, Christie's Contemporary Art The top auction houses resort to wining, dining, hand-holding, house calls, appraisals, loans, guarantees, single-work catalogues, and providing employment for consignor's children. Kelly Devine Thomas, art journalist How does the consignor choose an auction hammer what does each auction house offer For contemporary and modern art, Christie's has in recent years had the highest total sales and the...

Auction Psychology

Auctions are a bizarre combination of slave market, trading floor, theatre and brothel. They are rarefied entertainments where speculation, spin and trophy hunting merge as an insular caste enacts a highly structured ritual in which the codes of consumption and peerage are manipulated in plain sight. God help us if we ever take the theatre out of the auction business or anything else, it would be an awfully boring world. A. Alfred Taubman, former controlling shareholder of Sotheby's In the...

Branded Dealers

I had reservations about making art a business, but I got over it. Mary Boone, New York dealer Art dealers are like surfboard riders. You can't make a wave. If there aren't waves out there, you're dead. But the good surfboard rider can sense which of the waves coming in will be the good one, the one that will last. Successful art dealers have a feeling for hitting the right wave. Andre Emmerich, New York dealer If Christie's and Sotheby's are where the theater of branding has the biggest stage,...

Art And Artists

Art tells you things you don't know you need to know until you know them. Art is sexy Art is money-sexy Art is Thomas Hoving, former Director, Metropolitan Museum of Art Contemporary art has achieved its current importance in resale markets in part because the best examples of other schools of art are disappearing from the market, and are never again likely to appear for sale. For centuries, the best of the work of the past appeared regularly at private sales or at auction. Today, when an...