The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art

Front Cover
St. Martin's Press, Feb 21, 2012 - Art - 272 pages
4 Reviews

Why would a smart New York investment banker pay $12 million for the decaying, stuffed carcass of a shark? By what alchemy does Jackson Pollock's drip painting No. 5, 1948 sell for $140 million?

Intriguing and entertaining, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark is a Freakonomics approach to the economics and psychology of the contemporary art world. Why were record prices achieved at auction for works by 131 contemporary artists in 2006 alone, with astonishing new heights reached in 2007? Don Thompson explores the money, lust, and self-aggrandizement of the art world in an attempt to determine what makes a particular work valuable while others are ignored.

This book is the first to look at the economics and the marketing strategies that enable the modern art market to generate such astronomical prices. Drawing on interviews with both past and present executives of auction houses and art dealerships, artists, and the buyers who move the market, Thompson launches the reader on a journey of discovery through the peculiar world of modern art. Surprising, passionate, gossipy, revelatory, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark reveals a great deal that even experienced auction purchasers do not know.

 

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THE $12 MILLION STUFFED SHARK: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Informative and occasionally hilarious look at the surreal contemporary art market.This world has been fodder for mockery ever since Marcel Duchamp signed a urinal and proclaimed it art, but there's a ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - deepakjois - LibraryThing

I love the book for the thorough research that the author has presented. He covers the art 'industry', if one might call it that, from all perspectives – Artists, Auction Houses, Dealers, Collectors ... Read full review

Contents

The 12 Million Stuffed Shark
1
Branding and Insecurity
9
Branded Auctions
19
Branded Dealers
27
The Art of the Dealer
41
Art and Artists
53
Damien Hirst and the Shark
61
Warhol Koons and Emin
73
The Dealers Final Frontier
169
Art and Money
177
Pricing Contemporary Art
189
Fakes
201
Art Critics
209
Museums
215
End Game
227
Contemporary Art as an Investment
239

Branded Collector
85
Christies and Sothebys
95
Choosing an Auction Hammer
103
Auction Psychology
117
The Secret World of Auctions
131
Francis Bacons Perfect Portrait
145
Auction Houses vs Dealers
157
Postscript
252
References
255
Art Websites
259
Photo Credits
261
Index
263
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Don Thompson teaches marketing and economics in the MBA program at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. He has taught at the London School of Economics and at Harvard Business School. He lives in London and Toronto.

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