The Sacred Cows of the Art World (Or, Why Everyone’s So Nervous About Stefan Simchowitz)

The herd is spooked. That’s one interpretation of why there has been so much outrage over the the borderline heretical views that the collector Stefan Simchowitz espoused in Artspace‘s recent interview with him—what he said has evidently struck a chord that resonates jarringly with collectors, dealers, artists, curators… everyone, really. A collector who has amassed a hoard of recent art, much of it (Oscar MurilloParker Ito, etc.) stratospherically in demand by the market, Simchowitz is unabashed in his almost evangelical enthusiasm for flipping art (for profit and to buy more), outright disdain for the traditional gallery system, and libertarian-scented strategies for advancing what he sees as artists’ best interests. From the conversation that has blossomed online, it seems many people don’t know what to think, falling somewhere between Simchowitz’s extremism and thesurging response led by Jerry Saltz that frames the collector as a radioactive threat to art. But is he such a threat, top to bottom, through and through?

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