How Does the Art World Live With Itself?

The lush new art-world documentary The Price of Everything shows us a system so waist-deep in hypermarketing and excess that it’s hard to look at art without being overcome by money, prices, auctions, art fairs, celebrities, well-known artists, and mega-collectors who fancy themselves conquistadors. In this, it’s a lot like most recent accounts of the art world […]

NYT Review: ‘The Price of Everything’ Asks $56 Billion Questions About Art

“There are a lot of people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing,” the art collector Stefan Edlis remarks in Nathaniel Kahn’s new documentary. The words, unattributed in the film and the source of its title, come from “Lady Windermere’s Fan” by Oscar Wilde, where they supply the definition of a cynic. But […]

The Gray Market: Could Auction Houses Really Help Save Struggling Galleries? (and Other Insights)

Our columnist follows the bread crumbs left by the rumor that Art Agency, Partners will offer gallery advisory services for a hefty fee. It’s not exactly an analytical breakthrough if I tell you that the art industry is deeply troubled and, in many cases, deeply paranoid right now. A lot of people in the trade […]

Is Everything We Know About Gallery E-Commerce Wrong? How David Zwirner and Gagosian’s New Initiatives Break the Rules

With their new online viewing rooms, the mega-galleries are challenging ideas about what can (and can’t) sell online in a changing art market. Galleries have been offering works to buyers digitally since at least the early days of smartphones. But back then, emailed JPGs and PDF checklists were usually used to whet clients’ appetites for […]

Private Sales Offer Art for a Few Eyes Only

Private sales through auction houses are suddenly big, but are they new? “It was something that was kept under wraps at most of the houses for some time,” said David Schrader, who joined Sotheby’s last year as its head of private sales for contemporary art. “Now we’re being very vocal about it and putting more […]

Damien Hirst’s Post-Venice, Post-Truth World

The artist worked in secret on his first love, painting, for his new show. This is the anti-Venice, he says. LOS ANGELES — In army green camouflage and black sweats and with two heavy gold chains swinging with each step of his Nikes, Damien Hirst was in an unusually quiet mood. Sipping from a can […]

The Artist Who Invented the Upside-Down Painting

The market is on the up for Georg Baselitz, one of the world’s greatest-living painters, who celebrates his 80th birthday this year Expelled from art school aged 18, Georg Baselitz has gained a reputation as a provocateur, creating works that cause scandal and turn conventional approaches to painting, quite literally, on their head. Baselitz’s 80th birthday in January […]

Business, But Not As Usual

Tension in the Tectonic Plates Underlying the Market.  Everything you ever wanted to know about the art market but didn’t know who to ask The good news: the figures are big, demand is deep and there are more collectors buying art than ever. Meanwhile, there is real tension in the tectonic plates underlying the market. This […]

Should Museums Be Allowed to Sell Donated Works of Art?

Pity the big-time art collector (really!). All that time and money building a collection of art that is apt to go away just before or just after the collector dies. Because, when planning their estates, the three typical options for them are: The art can be willed to heirs who, if they like their parent’s […]

The Four Tribes of Art Collectors

The most enjoyable part of leading the art division of a private bank is working with the great characters of the art market. In my experience, serious collectors tend to fall into one of four “tribes,” each with their own behaviors, insecurities, strengths, and motivations for seeking, acquiring, and appreciating art. You may recognize them […]

The Director of the Beyeler Foundation Promises to Break Its ‘Glass Ceiling’—After Baselitz and Balthus Shows

Sam Keller says that Switzerland’s most-visited art museum will show more female artists as it expands on its 20th anniversary. In just over 20 years, the Fondation Beyeler has become Switzerland’s most-visited art gallery. And it is growing, in both ambition and size. The Beyeler’s director, Sam Keller, is overseeing the forthcoming $100 million Peter Zumthor-designed expansion, which […]

How to sell a billion worth of art

This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio.   BARRY RITHOLTZ, ANCHOR, BLOOMBERG:  This week on the podcast I have a special guest.  Her name is Brooke Lampley.  She was the former head of impressionist and modern art at Christie’s.  She is the incoming Chairperson of Fine Art Sotheby’s and this is a […]

New Damien Hirst Paintings to Be Exhibited in Stately British Home

The British artist Damien Hirst will exhibit new works from his series of spot paintings at a stately home in Britain. The exhibition, titled “Colour Space,” will open in March at Houghton Hall in Norfolk, in the southeast of England; the mansion was built in the 1720s for Britain’s first prime minister, Robert Walpole. Roughly 50 of […]

The Kippenberger Conundrum: How the Wildly Prolific Artist’s Artist Became an Eight-Figure Auction Darling

It was the peak of the 2014 fall auction season in New York, and though nearly two decades had gone by since Martin Kippenberger’s death of liver failure in 1997, the artist’s market had never been hotter. Prior to its bellwether postwar and contemporary evening sale, Christie’s had set the estimate for a prized 1988 […]

Art is not a luxury product like Hermes bags: Larry Gagosian (Video)

Gagosian Gallery owner Larry Gagosian on Friday explained why he doesn’t consider art to be a “luxury good” and how the art world has benefited from globalization. “It’s not a luxury good. It’s not a luxury product. I mean it may appear to people who buy Hermes bags, but it’s not a Hermes bag. Sometimes […]

Passion, Not Profit, Is the Biggest Motivator for Collectors, a New Study Says

The surprising results from a new study by Swiss bank UBS suggest that profit is rarely a driving factor. With the 2017 edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach—also known as the art world’s Black Friday—in full swing, Swiss bank UBS has released an extensive survey of art collectors that explores what motivates them, how […]

The False Narrative of Damien Hirst’s Rise and Fall

The rise and fall of Damien Hirst is an oft-told tale of hubris and nemesis. An art-world superstar in the nineteen-nineties and early two-thousands, Hirst made white-hot works—the most infamous of which involved animals immersed in formaldehyde—whose prices only ever went up. He got rich, his galleries got rich, his collectors got rich, everybody was happy. But, then, […]

The State of Cool Britannia: Art Market in Review

When in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Young British Artists announced themselves in an alcohol-fueled cacophony of controversy it looked as though the British art scene would never be the same again. Here was a media-savvy group untrammeled by artistic or behavioral politeness. Shock and outrage were a key part of their modus […]

Why Would Anyone Pay $450 Million for the ‘Salvator Mundi’? Because They’re Not Buying the Painting

An attempt to psychoanalyze the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi.’ Every May and November, many around the art world wonder aloud—with varying degrees of frustration—why so much of the media fixates its auction coverage on star lots and gaudy prices. The 36-hour frenzy following Christie’s sale of Salvator Mundi (circa 1500), the so-called “Last da […]

What Is Leonardo’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ Really Selling? Cracking the $100 Million da Vinci Code

Jesus saves, but the buyer of da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ will spend—a lot. The signs all point one way: Christie’s upcoming sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s spooky Salvator Mundi is the latest and perhaps most convincing portent that we are living in the End Times. In the Bible, Christ and his apostles held their property in common. Now, this image […]