Oligarchs and dictators are not cool (December 9 2012) Oligarchs and dictators are not cool (December 9 2012)

Sarah Thornton the British Canadian writer and sociologist of culture, writing principally about art, artists and the art market, has detailed a list of the top ten reasons from potentially ‘hundreds’ of reasons for her decision to quit the art market beat. Blouin Artinfo has reprinted two of the reasons, being (A) It enables manipulators to publicize the artists whose prices they spike at auction. Tightknit cabals of dealers and speculative collectors count on the fact that you will report record prices without being able to reveal the collusion behind how they were achieved. …It’s a shame when good artists’ careers are made volatile by speculation.  And (B) Oligarchs and dictators are not cool. I have no problem with rich people. (Some of my best friends are high net worth individuals!) But amongst the biggest spenders in the art market right now are people who have made their money in non-democracies with horrendous human rights records. Their expertise in rising to the top of a corrupt system gives punch to the term “filthy lucre.” However, the astronomical prices paid by these guys do have a positive trickle-down effect. When they buy a Gerhard Richter for $20m, the consignor of the painting will likely re-invest some of their profit in younger art (particularly if they are American and keen to defer capital gains tax). These Russian, Arab and Chinese collectors bring liquidity to the art world and allow more artists, curators and critics to make a living in relation to art.”


Inspired by Blouin ArtInfo ow.ly/fKgvH image source ow.ly/fKgrd