Monday, November 15, 2010

Money, Money, Money: Madoff and the Art Market

Fungible Art: Madoff's Slippers
A couple of weeks ago I tried to connect the dots between the photography auction market and the mood swings of the national economy. Yesterday I found this piece by Marion Maneker, which does a really tremendous job of discussing the economics of art. Glenn Beck might be interested in this excerpt, for instance:
The low interest rates being used to heal the world economy after the debt crisis have created a thriving art market as a by-product. Blue-chip art is no different from gold. It’s equally useless and almost as universally valued. So with gold making new highs at $1400, it should surprise no one that art prices for recognized and fairly fungible artists like Andy Warhol are back at the levels (or beyond) of the art boom of 2007-2008.
Maneker is working with big prices paid for big paintings, but her general points are probably valid for the broad range of art markets. The piece is very, very interesting.

And speaking of art, how could I not include the very nice picture (above) of Bernie Madoff's monogramed velveteen slippers? They were featured Saturday in an auction of the disgraced financier's personal effects, which were sold to help pay back the victims he defrauded. The auction didn't come close to repaying the $65 million he looted. But one lucky man paid $6,000 for the lot that included the slippers. (Alas, the buyer wears size 13 shoe, while Madoff was a size 8.) I'd settle for a big print of the slippers.

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