The Supermodel and the Brillo Box Hardcover – 27 May 2014
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Bringing an economist's curiosity to the inner workings of the contemporary art market, Don Thompson manages once again to explain, in laymen's terms, how a lot of it works. "Sarah Douglas, Culture Editor, The New York Observer" Don delivers entertaining and thoughtful insights into the inner workings of the art business, and does so in style! Check for Don's pointers on how to play the quiz of the contemporary art market. Very rewarding reading. "Sergey Skaterschikov, Founder, Skate's Art Market Research" A highly readable account of the booming market for contemporary art, post 2008. Art economist Don Thompson lays bare the world of high-octane auctions, canny collectors, culture-hungry new economies and opaque million-dollar art deals. "Georgina Adam, art market columnist, The Financial Times, London" I started reading "The Supermodel and the Brillo Box" and could not put it down until I finished it! Interesting to read about a world one knows well looked at through a different perspective. For anyone who wants to learn about the art market is a must read. "Pilar Ordovas, Ordovas gallery, London, and former deputy chairman for Postwar and Contemporary art, Christie's Europe""
About the Author
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
A lot of ground is covered here. As the title suggests, it is the contemporary art market which is examined as well as some slightly more mature areas such as the work of Frances Bacon which are not generally considered fully contemporary these days, as opposed to art in general. Some of the statistics are eye catching. Half of works bought in auction will never achieve the same realised price again and no work sold for over $30m has ever, and I repeat, not ever even on one occasion, been subsequently sold at a profit!
This book is packed with examples of how, sometimes the most unlikely of artwork becomes fashionable, how the rise of some artists is truly meteoric whilst others flatter to deceive. Influences on the development of the contemporary art market such as the rise of the wealthy and hence high spending Chinese and the museum ambitious Gulf States are discussed together with the workings of the market from the point of view of auctioneers, dealers, collectors and the artists themselves.
I found much in here to fascinate and inform and I certainly consider my knowledge of the contemporary art market significantly augmented. I would say though that parts of this tome are quite dry.Read more ›
This journey follows a similar pattern to other popular economics type books so if you liked the style of The Undercover Economist, Soccernomics or similar and you're interested in art then it's unlikely you'll be disappointed here. For those who are new to the genre, this is a great introduction as Thompson successfully simplifies a number of concepts telling them through a series of stories about different pieces of art, focusing on different reasons why the art costs what it did and why people were willing to pay what they were for it.
Much like the answer to the question why is the art worth so much, this book is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. Each story in itself is short, entertaining and well written and has a factor about it that would get starting "Did you know" type conversations with your friends. Also, while the book does still fall into the trap of feeling like it's labouring the same point repeatedly it does so much less than other books I've read in the genre, which is a refreshing change.
Overall, this book has a more of a feel of an older person telling you interesting stories and explaining things which is a tribute to the author. The world of art is often said to be difficult to understand an inaccessible, something this book definitely isn't. Therefore if you've got an interest in the topic or have even just wondered why my drawings aren't world millions, it's definitely worth starting here.
This changed again a century on, where art collectors were no longer from the ranks of a cultural elite, but from new money, philistines who saw art purely in terms of investment and conspicuous consumption: Modern art was no longer difficult to understand. In fact, there was barely anything to understand. Jeff Koons made art whose aim was to echo the look and feel of high end consumer goods: Damien Hirsts assistants painted hundreds of spot paintings which proclaimed nothing more but their existence as products.
The end result however, was the same, an art world that was of almost no interest to the vast majority of people kept going by a few hundred megawealthy buyers across the world,
All thats interesting, at least to me, and I thought this book would be about the way that fine art has changed in response to its market. And while the first part of the book does touch on this, it's really more about the mechanics of how prices are fixed i galleries and such, which I found a little boring , though that's not the books fault.
In summary, more for fans of populist economics books than for those interested in art.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great read for anyone interested in understanding the economics and psychology of the high end of the art market and strong companion for The 12 Million Dollar Shark. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Lawrence Green
Art is a subjective topic, more so than most. As the saying goes, one man's trash is another's treasure. Read morePublished 16 months ago by HeavyMetalManitou
a really good read showing the complete economical nonsense of the art worldPublished 22 months ago by Viktor Wynd
This was easy to read and understand with masses of examples that are easy to relate to. The art market and the value of pieces are nebulous and the folks involved are mostly... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Jack Chakotay
This was something of an impulsive order and based on a passing interest in how the contemporary art market works. The latter has always intrigued me. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Dr David Mankin
It's all smoke and mirrors innit, the art business. I refuse to have any 'art' in my home. it scares the cockroaches. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Bela Lugosi's Dad
"Bringing an economist's curiosity to the inner workings of the contemporary art market"
I'm no expert when it comes to the subject of contemporary art. Read more
Cheerful exposition of the economics behind contemporary art, the way the “ultra high net worth” spend their money on it and how firms in the field encourage them. Read morePublished on 26 July 2014 by G. Wake