I. Title: Twelve million dollar stuffed shark. II. Title. N was important because $12 million represented more money than had ever been. Editorial Reviews. Review. "Don Thompson has written, by far, the best book on the economics. The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art by Don Thompson. At the epicenter of Thompson's edgy, statistics-filled narrative is .
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Though, “The 12 Million Dollar Stuffed Shark” is not reviewed for this reason, or for a specific interest in ichthyologic art; we have recognized in this original and. Don Thompson's ''The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Thompson begins the book by focusing on Damien Hirst's sculpture of a shark, .. Overall, Thompson's book ''The $12 Million Dollar Shark'' is an interesting. The $12 Million Stuffed Shark. The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art. Don Thompson. St. Martin's Griffin. The $12 Million Stuffed Shark. g.
Elasticity: Sustained Demand In , the market had bounced back. This data represents a 32 percent increase of 7-figure and 8-figure sales from The main difference between and was the consistency of demand for modern and contemporary art. Author Don Thompson believes that the number of collectors and potential downloaders during the crisis was probably 20 times larger than it was during the crash.
Anyone with enough money can download what they want—immediately. They just have to be prepared to make that final bid.
In fact, the richer got richer. Gallery owners are notoriously hostile towards commoners and many evening sale auctions are by invitation only.
After all, democratic does not mean open. Instead of turning away from art during the economic crisis, art investors—a group of hedge fund and private-equity managers, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists—focused on the most 10 stable signatures at the high-end of the market. Foreign downloaders and New Money In during the financial crisis, Americans began to sell more than they download, thereby becoming net sellers of art. downloaders of fine art traditionally hailed from Europe and the United States, but the current art market is marked by increased downloader interest from the rest of the world, as indicated by auction turnovers in figure 5.
As foreign millionaires run out of real estates and yachts to acquire, they turn to fine art. This phenomenon occurred in the United States in the early 20th century as American millionaires began to amass wealth.
As a result, there is demand in the art market from countries that can afford to download museum quality artworks. Chinese artists are now some of the most famous and sought after contemporary artists in the world.
In comparison, Europe accounted for 30 percent of contemporary art auction revenue while the United States only accounted for 26 percent. Conversely, the globalization of the secondary market for modern and contemporary art has increased confidence in art as an investment. Art Investments as a Diversification Tool During the financial crisis and its aftermath, HNWIs in the United States, Europe, and around the world kept the art market bullish by putting money in the market in order to diversity their portfolios.
Investors took money from the stock market to put into museum quality artwork when equity markets fall. Art as an investment also invokes non-pecuniary motives such as emotional returns. As artist John Baldessari says, "you can acquire something much better to look at than a stock certificate.
As a result, the market is bullish yet the boom does not inflate into one large and vulnerable bubble. As investment-grade assets, however, branded artists that are wellknown maintained value even in times of economic downturn.
Thus, demand sustained for wellestablished names. In terms of contemporary art, more expensive artworks will fetch a greater profit at resale on the secondary market. Adler argues that consumption requires knowledge. Since knowledge of art history is not mainstreamed and thus costly, a slight majority of art downloaders preferring an artist will propel the artist into stardom. In superstar economics, small differences in talent translate into large differences in income when the output is replicated on a mass-consumption scale.
The opposite is true. Warhol is one of the three most traded artists since and his market is considered a bellwether of contemporary art. Figure 6: Value of Warhol and Picasso sales at auction As a result of the uncertain economy and the lack of supply, downloaders in the aftermath of the financial crisis were able to focus on individual sales. Auction catalogs were no longer clogged with goods and the dearth of auctioned goods meant that downloaders were able to bid on specific pieces they coveted.
Auction houses diminished their offerings on artists whose prices rose drastically during the art boom.
Tobias Meyer explained in , "We didn't want to keep bringing it all out. These are important artists, and we wanted to be a little careful.
Things are different [in ]. High prices are being achieved 15 but you can't turn the work around so quickly. Art — the Poor Investment In various studies of fine art as a financial instrument, it has proven to be a poor investment on the secondary market. Most art does not appreciate. Indeed, 80 percent of artwork bought from dealers and art fairs will never resell at the original price. Weirdly, auction houses have been immune to charges against their good taste: In London they are carried in by the only impoverished person.
Auctioneers report that there are also rules for what makes art more valuable at auction: Cows never sell. Some dealers worry that they will be squeezed out, though this might not be a valid fear.
Also, dealers help establish baseline prices for the auction houses. They are a necessary layer for the auction houses. Effectively they offer a way for a third party to bid on a piece of art ahead of time the downside is that the third party might is that it might pay more than it would have in the actual auction.
The system works out great for the auction house, assuming it can get third parties to cover the guarantees it gives out to the people who consign the work to be auctioned in the first place. If they do the public sees it as a loss or as a sign of bad financial management, and then there are internal political cans-of-worms as well: So say someone consigns a painting to a museum, no strings attached. Rather than putting it in storage, the museum can flip it at auction.
The auction house gets to sell something from a name brand museum. The museum gets money to download other art to fill in the gaps. As Thompson puts it: I will leave that question to the reader. It seems foolish to think that this time around will be any different. It's worth an extended quote, because it helps everything else make some weird kind of sense. The value of art often has more to do with artist, dealer, or auction-house branding, and with collector ego, than it does with art In the United Kingdom and the United States, the share of income held by the top 1 percent of the population has doubled since the start of the s.
In Italy and France In Russia, China and India, the share may be fifty times higher In , Forbes magazine reported a record billionaires And that's why you keep asking yourself, "All that money Thompson isn't an art insider; he's a Canadian economist who has taught at the London School of Economics and the Harvard Business School.
This accounts for both the book's subtitle and the care Thompson uses to define most of the artspeak shot through the narrative. When you put any two or three of these together, wallets and brains explode. Artists become branded by being represented by a branded dealer, or being bought by a branded collector. A branded collector can maximize his return by selling a branded artist's work through a branded auction house at the evening auction, not the more plebian afternoon one , preferably to a branded museum or another branded collector.
Prices keep going up even if they don't -- nobody admits that because the players in this game never run out of money. And so it goes.
Keep in mind that none of this has anything to do with you or me. Thompson makes the point more than once: Make sure it looks good on your wall. Despite being both an academic and an economist, Thompson writes clearly, often engagingly, and most important, understandably. He examines the underpinnings of each piece of this self-reinforcing money mill in turn, discussing not only how they work but also why, and how it all goes together.
Outside of some artist name-dropping, you likely won't get lost even if your only exposure to contemporary art is Warhol's soup cans. Probably because he isn't an art insider and was discovering all this stuff while he was researching this book, Thompson includes an unusual for these kind of books amount of detail about the everyday workings of dealers, auctions, art fairs, and the like.
We learn about chandelier bids, waiting lists, "downloading with your ears," private treaty sales and "Very Ordinary People" the other Given what I write, I found this the most useful aspect of this book; you may too, especially if you've seen one too many art-auction scenes in movies and wondered if it really goes down that way. If you read my last art-book review , you may be asking, "Isn't this just a rehash of Big Bucks: The Explosion of the Art Market in the 21st Century?
However, Georgina Adam came at the subject from an insider's perspective and wasn't nearly as interested in the nuts-and-bolts as she was about broad trends. Shark and Big Bucks are companion pieces, not duplicates. The other difference between the two books: Shark is almost ten years old, while Big Bucks is only three. Thompson's data ended just as the crash began.
This renders most of his discussion about absolute prices rather than trends moot; nearly all the records he reports have been broken by now, and a few of the power players have changed.
Thompson visited the post-crash art world in 's The Supermodel and the Brillo Box: This, as well as a spotty index and not nearly enough pictures, shaved off enough of the fifth star to make me call it four stars and change. It's a better entry point than Adam's Big Bucks ; you'll get more ground-level details along with the lurid bits, at the cost of looking at the world as it was a few years ago.
By the end, you'll know why you should download a contemporary female nude with lots of red, and why it doesn't matter whether you actually like or understand the piece you've spent your retirement fund on. Apr 19, Mark rated it really liked it Shelves: Not to mention all the auction talk gets pretty repetitive.
I also find it funny kind of hard to knock the book on this, just wish it were revised or something how much Thompson talks about the resilience of the market and compares it to stocks and mentions it only took slight hits from the recession and the dot com bubble but also later admits the contemporary art market has struggled to reach where it used to be So now I really want to know what the effects of the housing bubble on the art market ended up being, because my takeaway is that it was drastic.
Did it affect sales? Art fairs? Private sales?
Did any of those markets collapse? Did the contemporary art world change because of the market crash? Or maybe it changed because of the ripple effect the housing bubble caused on the art market.
The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art
Kind of leaves a lot up in there as a product of its time. Jan 01, Maksym Karpovets rated it really liked it Shelves: Jan 31, Nour Oueidat rated it liked it. I've started reading this book with little information about contemporary art.
I only know about the ridiculous installations that cost a fortune and Andy Warhol's easy-to-imitate silkscreens. This book was a great insight to everything you need to know about contemporary art, not just the economical aspect of it.
It goes through major artists, major auction houses, major collectors, and major art installations. Although its a slow read, the information it exposes about the art world is interest I've started reading this book with little information about contemporary art. Although its a slow read, the information it exposes about the art world is interesting and in some places surprising.
It opens up the discussion to what constitutes as art, how can art be valued, and the inevitable reality of commercialized and mass produced art. Its sad when its put into perspective how the art world is basically a game for the rich.
Billionaires download and sell art like its stock. Non-the-less, we ordinary people can still go to museums thank God for that and enjoy art for free. Now with a better understanding of how the art world works, I can witness art being sold for extravagant amounts of money and be amused rather than shocked. Jan 02, Mark B. I'm going to have to give this one a mixed-review. First of all, I was concerned by some of the mistakes that slipped past the book's editors i.
Such errors throw up all sorts of red flags for me. I wonder what other oversights I missed for not being familiar enough with the topics to start with. That said, I mus I'm going to have to give this one a mixed-review. That said, I must admit that I did enjoy most of the book, especially the discussions of auction houses, the establishment of fair market values and the frank exploration of the existence and proliferation of art fairs in recent years. All in all, I would recommend this book for anyone whose professional life relies on, or exists in tandem with contemporary art.
I do however caution you to double-check any of the facts yourself before relying on the book as a completely valid resource. Jul 09, Noah Goats rated it really liked it. A lot of modern art seems like a scam to me. People pay huge sums for a Damien Hirst or an Andy Warhol, but, frankly, much of their art is boring, ugly, and insulting to both intelligence and common sense.
Why A Dead Shark Costs $12 Million
The galleries, auction houses, collectors, dealers, artists, and critics involved in the contemporary art industry are participating in all kinds of chicanery, some of which would be illegal in other contexts.
The art market looks suspiciously like a financial bubble, like the Dutch tulip mania or the South Sea Company, that could pop at any moment just like any other market not based on rational behavior. Don Thompson details how artists become trusted brands, like Coke or Xerox, who art collectors can trust to get them a good return on their investment.
He explains how the art trade is becoming less the realm of art historians and more the domain of financial advisors. He explains how marketing and provenance can have a greater impact on the value of a work than the quality of the work itself.
For many art collectors the most important things about a work of art are its cost and the likelihood that it might be sold for more in the future. This book is eye opening and interesting. Jun 10, Darya Conmigo rated it it was amazing Shelves: Reads like a good detective story. Loved it. This is by no means an easy read. The author packs in a lot of information, including economics and a bit of art criticism.
Nonetheless, the topic is fascinating. Some parts are obvious: The obvious, however, is balanced with a behind-the-scenes look at how auction houses, dealers, and art fairs work. It certainly gave me a new appreciation of why museums dislike talking about cost and value when talking about art--the a This is by no means an easy read. It certainly gave me a new appreciation of why museums dislike talking about cost and value when talking about art--the auction prices have little to do with the quality of the art.
Why is some modern art worth millions of dollars? Well, it's not the actual art. Critics don't control it. And the public has very little to do with it. It is really a small collection of collectors who download, display, loan, then sell said art.
They are the ones who create the value for the pieces they believe in. And if they get it in a show, then a museum, then in front of dealers and downloaders.. The lead culprit in this game is the downloader of said shark Why is some modern art worth millions of dollars? The lead culprit in this game is the downloader of said shark, Charles Sastchi. I am a fan of Saatchi due to one of his famous quotes It's what works in advertising.
What works in modern art, according to the book is being owned by people like Charles Saatchi. That is the truth and Saatchi creates the impact. Saatchi's most famous sale after Damien Hirst's shark, and his most dramatic profit, came with Marc Quinn's SELF, a cast of the artist's head made from nine pints of his own frozen blood.
That is sacrificing for your art. I'll limit myself to two. First, he actually seems to believe that it's possible to rewrite art history with a checkbook. I don't want to deny that money and branding can and probably will play a role when, decades from now, historians sit down to chronicle late twentieth century art, but it's probably wrong to hold that high auction prices for earlier work will be as influential in rewriting the history of modern art as for detailing a history of the market for modern art.
Thompson seems to have convinced himself that price is equal to value while writing a book about how price became the measure of value this becomes very clear when he writes off art criticism because it doesn't seem to have much effect on-- you guessed it-- prices! The second limitation of Thompson's analysis occurs when he discusses subsidies. He may discover all sorts of questionable and, in his own words, possibly "unethical" practices in the art market, but he's not ready to pass judgment until he discusses alternatives to the market.
Subsidies, he argues, reduce motivation, and might decrease output. So, for instance, Thompson notes that the Dutch government subsidized art in the s, and then asks, "can you name a single contemporary Dutch artist from the s?
And if you're not convinced, he notes that the. French Culture Ministry gives the visual arts about twenty times as much relative to the number of artists as does the National Endowment for the Arts in the United States. The reader may recall that there were no French contemporary artists in the consensus top twenty-five list earlier in the book That list on p. But might this distribution have something to do with political geography?Museum visitors care more about the price and former owner of a piece than they do about the painting itself.
Top-tier artists, once in the the upper echelon, can produce whatever they want - their name and brand is infinitely more important to the market than the quality of th This is a bit dryer than I expected, though still rewarding.
That tornado is made out of steel wool; the grass is parsley. Readers Also Enjoyed. Rather than putting it in storage, the museum can flip it at auction. Damien Hirst Make sure it looks good on your wall.
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That is sacrificing for your art. According to Michael Moses of New York University, art during this time had a five-year compound annual growth rate of above 20 percent.
Hirst is known for a quote about his cows cut into pieces and suspended in twelve formaldehyde-filled tanks.