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The Supermodel and the Brillo Box Hardcover – 27 May 2014

4.0 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (27 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1137279087
  • ISBN-13: 978-1137279088
  • Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 2.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 284,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

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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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The art market has been described as the one place where the world's mega rich individuals can spend virtually limitless sums of money. However, it has always been something of a mystery as to why one artist's products might change hands for, perhaps, millions of pounds whilst the work of other, apparently talented individuals struggles to command prices of even 0.1% of these lofty sums. This book attempts to take a close look at this enigma, the individuals involved and how the art market works without, perhaps, coming to definite conclusions on this problem.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The old adage goes that something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. Why, therefore is someone willing to pay half a million pounds for something that is little more than a wooden version of an everyday household product? In the Supermodel and the Brillo Box, Thompson aims to take us on a journey to find out.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
One theory about modern art holds that it originally came about because of the invention of cheap colour printing in the 19th century. Once anyone could afford to have a copy of The Laughing Cavalier on their wall, traditional art began to lose its cultural cachet: Modern art was purposely difficult to like and 'understand' so that only the wealthy and a n educated elite would be able to appreciate it.: Thus whenever the Daily Mail started hooting about how a pile of bricks had cost the taxpayer million quid, they where both missing and reinforcing the point.

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.
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