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Re: <nettime> Collectors, artists and lawyers. Fear of litigation is hob
Florian Cramer on Sun, 25 Nov 2012 21:13:52 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Collectors, artists and lawyers. Fear of litigation is hobbling the art market



On Sat, Nov 24, 2012 at 6:10 PM, Brian Holmes
<bhcontinentaldrift {AT} gmail.com> wrote:

> Typically there is a large boom in the art market after stocks
> or other financial assets go bust. This one has been historic
> and game-changing, due to the entry on the art market of the new
> millionaires and billionaires created by neoliberal globalization
> and the credit bubble. Most people think it's funny and why not
> let their money slosh around for a while, but from another angle,
> as public institutions go under, what we're seeing is the rank
> corruption of aesthetic activity which under better circumstances
> might have transformed perception and opened up new solidarities.


I recommend watching the 2009 BBC documentary "Art Safari - The Great
Contemporary Art Bubble" by Ben Lewis (http://artsafari.tv/?p=24).
It's a brilliant and thorough piece of investigative journalism that
focuses on Damien Hirst, the Gagosian gallery, Sotheby's and the new
millionaires and billionaires you mention. Lewis shows in meticulous
detail how the market is rigged, among others by gallery owners
anonymously bidding on their own artists during auctions, and by fluff
sales among small insider groups of art collectors that artificially
keep up inflated market prices in order to lure in newcomer buyers
who actually pay those prices. Finally, Lewis points out how this is
not just a game of "billionaires scamming other billionaires" (to
quote the film), but inflicts great collateral damage on public art
collections, and how all of these practices are illegal in other parts
of the economy.

-F




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