Sins, Launder, Art
October 8, 2015 § Leave a comment
There is a famous saying-
Sotheby’s will launder your sins for you.
Just today I was strolling round one of the London galleries glancing at the various pieces on show, distracted, rejected, ejected by the atropaic green dot—that is the green dot saying “sold.”
As my own eye shifted warily from piece to piece, I was struck with one thing. How ludicrously expensive it all was. Something’s wrong when you’re paying £1 million for a Taylor Shinbone eggbox.
But it had all been bought by fellow hedge funders.
Waking out of the gallery on this cold and frosty Autumn afternoon, my main take away from the experience is that art continues to increase in price even as the rest of the market shuffles towards the abyss. Why?
It is impossible for a canvas brushed with paint, a marble statue with no arms or a steel and metal monolith with upraised girders in the shape of tubes and a mesh world signifying banker’s excess, to have an intrinsic value of a hundred million dollars. These are not tangible assets like those of a company, say, for example, VW.
For hedge funders, the value of art it isn’t governed by tangible assets. But by jealousy and desire.
Art is an object that provides social currency today. It knits together a select group of global nabobs and those who want to be seen sharing economic and cultural rank with them. They gain from it a thin veneer of respectability that they plaster all over their faces like stage make up.
Look at the Qataris. Who took them seriously until they bought that Cezanne? I knew they had money, but did I know they were going to use it like that? Fuck.
This currency of art gives you access to the dominant economy. It’s a symbol of your membership of a global class of the world’s elite. In the cold nuclear freeze of economic crisis, it is far less important that it can be bought or sold but that you have it. People will follow you, regardless. For the man with the last Leonardo is vinci. In the land of the blind, the trompe l’oeil is king.
Anyway read the next excursion of “Anatomy” here.