How a Restored da Vinci Became the Most Expensive Artwork Ever

    What does it really take to create a $450 million painting from Leonardo “Dough” Vinci?   “Salvator Mundi,” the most expensive painting ever sold at auction, was hammered down at the Christie’s Contemporary evening sale last month. But a number of art critics had blasted the painting. “Why is a Leonardo in a Modern and Contemporary auction?” wrote New York magazine’s Jerry Saltz. “Because 90% of it was… Read more
Categorized as NY Observer

The Art World’s Biggest Lie: A Dealer Apologizes for Collecting as Investing

The last several years have brought nosebleed prices for works of art, auction records that seem to be broken almost as soon as they are made. With endless media coverage of $100 million Picassos and $50 million Jeff Koons sculptures, the general public is often left with the impression that art has not only been a great investment, it’s been the investment of late. I, too, have taken part in… Read more
Categorized as NY Observer

Why I’m Worried About the Art World: Adam Lindemann on the Sizzle vs. the Steak

As the year begins, I’m troubled, worried, confused and concerned about the art world: Are we treading on thin ice, or can this bull market just charge along for over a decade? When was the last time the art market didn’t surprise and defy all logic? It’s up when it should be down and vice versa.   Remember last November, when Jeff Koons’ classic Celebration series sculpture “Moon (Yellow)” failed… Read more

The Art World’s Instant Grammification – Taking the bull(#@!%) by the horns

You might have heard that Instagram has taken over the art world. Yes, I’m on it, and I follow several people, not because I want to, but because I feel I have to. Everyone must follow artists like Richard Prince, Wade Guyton and Alex Israel, as well as all the sundry dealers, advisers and collectors trying desperately to be cool.   The number of people posting images on this silly… Read more

One for the Flippers: Buy Now! Liquidate! I’d SellYouLater, but It’s Already Too Late is the best art website to come along in some time. Since starting in early February, it has been rebranded as, but the old name seems more appropriate. They rank artists as “buy” or “sell” based on a secret mathematical formula (don’t you love that!). They claim to use algorithms to identify “prime emerging artists based on qualitatively weighted metrics, including Web presence (verified social media accounts, inbound… Read more

Barbarians at Sotheby’s Gate?: Activist Investor Daniel Loeb Is Shaking Up the Centuries-Old Auction House

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

Art’s Celebrity Obsession: How Many Movie Stars Does It Take to Make a Basquiat Record?

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
Categorized as NY Observer

Small Time: Revisiting Jeff Koons vs. Paul McCarthy

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

La Serenissima’s Circus of Art: Milla Jovovich in a Box Took the Tiramisù, but Manet Beat the Biennale

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

Inside Out, Round and Round…: From Out-of-Whack Values to Artist Defections, This Art World Is Looking Topsy-Turvy

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