Last week, Daniel Loeb’s activist hedge fund, Third Point Partners, which weighs in at a hefty $15 billion, increased to 9.3 percent its share in Sotheby’s (aka BID) stock. Another activist fund, Marcato Capital Management, owns about 6 percent of the auction house, and billionaire Nelson Peltz of Trian Fund Management owns another 3, putting about 19 percent of the company shares in “hostile” hands.
Right on cue, Mr.… Read more
What’s the hottest thing in the art world today? Forget the artists and the famous dealers. Today, it’s the celebrities.
The art world has officially joined the rest of the world in a maniacal obsession with celebrity culture. Sure, Warhol did it long ago with his 1960s “screen tests” of Warren Beatty and Dylan, and by hosting the likes of Mick Jagger, Jackie O, her son John John and… Read more
Is bigger art always better art? Certainly in the age of Instagram, anything monumental is hard to discredit; people are easily impressed and love to obsess over questions like “How did it get here, how was it made and how much does it cost?” Somehow they forget the basic questions: “What is it and why is it?” Wouldn’t you have expected that after the financial crisis of ’08-’09, we would… Read more
The opening of the 55th Venice Biennale two weeks ago was the third leg of a month-and-a-half-long art marathon that started with the young and fun Frieze New York in early May, followed by Art Basel Hong Kong, which I’ve called “the fortune cookie art fair,” and continuing on through the four-day Art Basel, Switzerland’s well-established mega-art fair (the one that motivates most dealers to finally pull out their good… Read more
Hey, do you feel like the art world is upside down? In her disco standard “Upside Down,” Diana Ross sings about how her boyfriend is unfaithful, but she looks the other way because “no one makes me feel like you do.” Unlike Diana, I’m not comfortable when things are upside down, and I never look the other way. New year, new beginning, time to think about what doesn’t make sense.… Read more
Bogie knew, “you must remember this …” Here are a few art world surprises to remember, and some we’d rather forget.
The Chelsea Flood: Who could ever have imagined that a silly old hurricane would sink the entire Chelsea art district and parts of Red Hook? Sandy not only inundated basement storages; first-floor galleries had their key November exhibitions floating in six feet of dirty seawater. I walked… Read more
To boldly go where I have never collected before
As in years past, my trepidations about Art Basel Miami Beach began days before my departure. This time it started in the waiting room of my uptown doctor’s office, when one patient called out to another: “Hey Freddie, when d-y’a get ta Miami?” Freddie replied, “Can’t make it till Thursday—we’ll rock.” I knew then that the art world had… Read more
NOT PUBLISHED BY THE NEW YORK OBSERVER
Auction season is once again upon us, time to write about the weighty volume of art for sale, and wonder what people will pay for it. I’m simply overwhelmed by the quantity of valuable artworks that need to sell (though much of it has essentially been pre-sold, through third party guaranties). Add all this to a disastrous flooding… Read more
Charm, Beauty and Creativity, The Three Graces of Richard Phillips
Corneille peint les hommes comme ils devraient être, Racine les peint tels qu’ils sont.
“Corneille depicts man as he should be, Racine depicts him as he is.”
In characterizing the famous French tragedians of the 17th century, whose plays focus almost exclusively on passion and politics, the famous essayist and… Read more