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AFTER MY ARTICLE ON FIXED ART PRICES (CLICK HERE), CLAUDE REICH AND I DISCUSS THE RELEVANCE OF THIS SORT OF DISCUSSION IN THE FOLLOWING TERMS:

Claude Reich · 15 mutual friends

Everything you write may be true or not…it is said that the Mugrabis own about 800 Warhols, a figure no one but them actually knows, and which has been lightly circulated, but it is the only one in our possession. Do you know how many works Warhol painted? Nobody does, but to give you one example, there are 22 double Elvises around…So, at best, the Mugrabis own, what? 5%? 2%?10% of Warhol’s output? That’s cornering a market?
Also, the market manipulation on Koons, who do they hurt but a supposedly gullible multi-millionaire who is dumb enough to enter a market he is not familiar with? If you buy a Warhol, you have to know, as in any other market, what you are up against. I don’t think people who act in financial markets are more transparent than any Mugrabis, Gagosian or Brant who act on the artmarket, and many more people are concerned here than just a tiny minority of multi-millionaires. If you want to play on the artmarket, you have to do your homework first. If you need an art adviser to do that for you, you shouldn’t do it in the first place.
Also, about Lindemann’s Koons sale, the capital gains tax in the US is, correct me if I am wrong, 20%. If the buyer was a NYC resident, the sales tax was 8.875%. So the taxman was not that unhappy after all…
Rodrigo Canete the problem is that art does not seem to be purely private sector issue. If I am not mistaken the whole museum system is maintained by the tax payers. I refuse to think of it as ‘a group of billionaires playing around’. That is reductive. Regarding the taxman, you are looking at the wrong place. The artificial inflation of Koons as a bubble has financial consequences everywhere.
Claude Reich · 15 mutual friends

Maybe you could expound that.As for the museum system in the US, it is not maintained by the tax payer, except for some institutions in Washington DC, which, nevertheless, still receive substantial private fundings. Also, speculation on art is far from a new phenomenon. You can check the history of the Parisian art market in the 1920s and discover a vast manipulation on what was called at the time “young foreign painters” ( such as Soutine). In 1990, when Walter Annenberg bought Au Lapin Agile by Picasso, everybody bemoaned the fact that great art was in the clutches of rapacious speculators and would vanish “forever” (Robert Hughes, whom you mention, in Time Magazine) in private collections. A few years later, Annenberg donated his entire collection to the Metropolitan Museum, where it is on permanent view, and the great and prescient Robert Hughes was left to interview Alberto Mugrabi, or rather, interview himself in Mugrabi’s apartment. Everything you read in the press on the artmarket is a word-for-word repetition of what was being written between 1988 and 1990. You just have to change the last names. And the very fact that you and I discuss about market manipulations on Koons ( and other artists) and that you even mention last names, shows you how public this type of information has been. Everybody knows that the Warhol market is manipulated, everybody knows that the Koons market is manipulated, so, really, it is part of the deal, you price it in if you want to buy a work by any of those artists, including Fontana, Calder, Picasso, etc. But, again, who buys such things? Your regular everyday investor?
Rodrigo Canete so what is your point? Besides, the museum system in the UK is maintained by the tax payer and in the US too…where you think that those inheritance excemptions and sponsorship tax breaks come from? Wake up!
Claude Reich · 15 mutual friends

Also, as far as we taxpayers are concerned, you can check the value of Leonard Lauder’s Cubist collection, which he just donated to the Met and which he bought mainly at auction over the last 20 years. Being Tobias Meyer’s friend is not always bad for the public, the museum system, etc…
Well, it is your point I don’t get, actually. You talk about mysterious manipulations which are not mysterious, cornered markets which are not cornered, gossips that you read in the NYT. Tax breaks? A Cubist collection worth more than a billion dollars? That is some tax break ok…

Rodrigo Canete ok let’s strip it to the basics. What you are saying is that the museum system is purely private and the art world is just a matter the concerns the private sector represented by a group of billionaires who are checking whose cock is bigger. To you it is just a harmless game which on top of everything brings tax (as it inflates as a bubble) to the taxman. What I say is that that speculation should be regulated because it creates debt, bad credit, makes the tax payer finance the legitimation of that system through indirect side payments. For example, the inheritance tax in the US is high enough that motivates wealthy families to make those donations because they couldn’t afford to pay the tax. I don’ know if that is your Cubist collection example but most surely. This could be a matter of left wing or right wing but the piece of information that you are missing is that price speculation does impact the overall economy and also creates terrible conditions for living artists to work.