The Supermodel and the Brillo Box Back Stories and Peculiar Economics from the World of Contemporary Art

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 11/17/2015
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

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Acquiring contemporary art is about passion and lust, but it is also about branding, about the back story that comes with the art, about the relationship of money and status, and, sometimes, about celebrity. The Supermodel and the Brillo Box follows Don Thompson's 2008 bestseller The $12 Million Stuffed Shark and offers a further journey of discovery into what the Crash of 2008 did to the art market and the changing methods that the major auction houses and dealerships have implemented since then. It describes what happened to that market after the economic implosion following the collapse of Lehman Brothers and offers insights and art-world tales from dealers, auction houses, and former executives of each, from New York and London to Abu Dhabi and Beijing. It begins with the story of a wax, trophy-style, nude upper-body sculpture of supermodel Stephanie Seymour by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, which sold for $2.4 million to New York über-collector and private dealer Jose Mugrabi, and recounts the story of a wooden Brillo box that sold for $722,500. The Supermodel and the Brillo Box looks at the increasing dominance of Christie's, Sotheby's, and a few über dealers; the hundreds of millions of new museums coming up in cities like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Beijing; the growing importance of the digital art world; and the shrinking role of the mainstream gallery.

Author Biography

Don Thompson is an economist and Emeritus Nabisco Brands Professor of Marketing and Strategy at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. He has taught at Harvard Business School and the London School of Economics, and is the author of 11 books. He writes on the economics of the art market for publications as diverse as The Times (London), Harper's Magazine, and The Art Economist. He lives in Toronto, Canada.

Table of Contents

The Colors of Contemporary Art
The World of Contemporary Art
The Art Market Crash of 08
What Jobs Do We Hire Art For?
Back Story
Authenticating Warhol
Collecting and Investing
Mugrabi, Saatchi, Sandretto and the Vogels
Contemporary Art as an Asset Class
The Contemporary Artists
Cattelan, Murakami and Ai
Damien Hirst, Artist and Marketer
Artists Lauded, Artists Disdained
Jacob Kassay's Wild Price Ride
The Auction Houses
Behind the Gavel
Christie's, Sotheby's and Their Competitors
The Scream
The Opaque Side of Auctions
The Art Dealers
Gagosian and the Evolution of the Art Dealer
The Artful Dealer
When Auction Houses and Dealers Collide
Changing Markets
Abu Dhabi and Qatar
China is Number Two
The Estella Collection
The Market as Medium
Art Fairs
End Game: Click on a Warhol
Postscript and References

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