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The $12 Million Stuffed Shark

The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art

By Don Thompson

(15)

| Paperback | 9781845133023

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Book Description

Why would a very smart New York investment banker pay twelve million dollars for the decaying, stuffed carcass of a shark? By what alchemy does Jackson Pollock's drip painting No.5 1948 sell for $140 million? And why does a leather jacket with silver Continue

Why would a very smart New York investment banker pay twelve million dollars for the decaying, stuffed carcass of a shark? By what alchemy does Jackson Pollock's drip painting No.5 1948 sell for $140 million? And why does a leather jacket with silver chain attached, tossed in a corner and titled 'No One Ever Leaves', bring $690,000 at a 2007 Sotheby's auction? The Twelve Million Dollar Stuffed Shark is the first book to look at the economics of the modern art world and the marketing strategies which power the market to produce such astronomical prices. Don Thompson talks to auction houses, dealers, and collectors to find out the source of Charles Saatchi's Midas touch, and how far a gallery like White Cube has contributed to Damien Hirst becoming the highest-earning artist in the world. He unravels the Byzantine sale procedures by which the top auction houses maintain both premium prices for what they sell and their own pre-eminence, but also shows us a market whose most spectacular excesses are driven just as often by far simpler human urges like lust and self-aggrandizement.
It is a world in which brand is all-important, and which in many ways has most in common with the branded world of luxury fashion. The result is a fascinating, shrewd and highly readable insight into a modern-day phenomenon. Don Thompson is an economist and professor of business specialising in art. He has taught at the London School of Economics and the Harvard Business School. This is his first trade book. He lives in London and Toronto.

2 Reviews

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  • 1 person finds this helpful

    If you are new to the art world dYnamics and want to learn a bit more, than this is a perfect start! The goings on behind auction houses and big fairs are perfectly captured! At the end you are left with the sense the current state of ontemporary art ...(continue)

    If you are new to the art world dYnamics and want to learn a bit more, than this is a perfect start! The goings on behind auction houses and big fairs are perfectly captured! At the end you are left with the sense the current state of ontemporary art is purview of the uber rich! You need big money to play on this game and I agree with the fact the art IS NOT a good investmen overall! A entertaining and valuable reading!

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    Alex Ciliegi said on Jun 19, 2012 | Add your feedback

  • 1 person finds this helpful

    The best footnote for this book is the quote from the former director of Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas Hoving: "Art is sexy! Art is money-sexy! Art is money-sexy-social-climbing-fantastic!"
    In contrary to those old masters in museums, collection ...(continue)

    The best footnote for this book is the quote from the former director of Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas Hoving: "Art is sexy! Art is money-sexy! Art is money-sexy-social-climbing-fantastic!"
    In contrary to those old masters in museums, collections of contemporary art don't go through the test over a long period of time, and thus, all about money now. This is sad, very sad.

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    Alveole Wu said on Jan 11, 2011 | Add your feedback

Book Details

  • Rating:
    (15)
    • 4 stars
  • English Books
  • Paperback 304 Pages
  • ISBN-10: 1845133021
  • ISBN-13: 9781845133023
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd
  • Publish date: 2008-01-01
  • Dimensions: 193 mm x 1,031 mm x 1,289 mm
  • Also available as: Hardcover , eBook
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