Thursday, 3 March 2005

Bubble in art

Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture highlights the frenzied bidding for art works as another indication that there is too much money around, and "it is a foreboding sign" for equity markets.

She Can't Be Bought
In January, one of the art world's brightest young stars, Julie Mehretu, was put on display in a highly unusual way -- on the stand in a Manhattan courtroom, where she’d been called to testify by her dealer, who's feuding with a collector over her work... The suit was brought by Jean-Pierre Lehmann, a leading collector of cutting-edge contemporary art who was there to assert his right to buy Mehretu's paintings...

"This case shows the length a collector would go to secure themselves choice material," says Sandy Heller, an art consultant to some of New York's top hedge-fund managers...

When did collecting art become such a maddening exercise for wealthy collectors, akin to having to go before picky co-op boards only to be rejected over and over again? Even Rembrandt and Dürer had waiting lists. But "lists for younger artists are a much more recent phenomenon," says Chelsea dealer Barbara Gladstone. "It's a function of this excitable market." People on Wall Street are seeking contemporary-art trophies -- and waiting lists make works even more enticing to obtain. It sounds familiar, and naturally everyone wonders when this bubble will burst. Right now "feels like the last days of the Roman Empire," says private-art curator Todd Levin. "Compared to the eighties, it’s a much broader group with much more money" -- though some of the people are the same ones who bought art the last time around.

I discuss this and other bubbles in "Bubbles everywhere -- and about to burst?".

No comments:

Post a comment