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

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Macmillan, Feb 21, 2012 - Art - 272 pages
2 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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User Review - Flag as inappropriate

The book length is 250. It normally takes me less than 2 weeks to finish one if it is interesting. I have been struggling.
The title regarding economics is misleading. It was about art dealing n
the intermingled relationship between artists,dealer, auction houses. The part about auctions was interesting. However , Thompson's writing style seem somewhat disorganized. At times he wants to introduce an interesting point but after a few sentences, he drew his conclusion abruptly n I was at a loss even though I re~read many times I could not get his point . 

Great book! Great price!

User Review  - fapresto - Overstock.com

Just what I was looking for. Great expert advice and insight on the inner workings of the business and deal making side of art. 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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