Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Continuing roughly from here and other recent posts

Felix Salmon on Gagosian and Robert Parker.

Comments, at the first...
Saatchi and Saatchi faced a crisis after all the expansion meant that it handled accounts for both Coke and Pepsi. Art and advertising are boutique businesses. Conglomerates can operate multiple boutiques and brands only as long as they’re diversified, but also a boutique cannot become a conglomerate without losing it’s claim to the “charm” of being a boutique. 
As David Zwirner told me 20 years ago, there’s not much difference between art and fashion anymore. I suppose I should have left that as a blind item, but I’m really sick of the cant. High art and high fashion are facing the same crisis; entertainment and clothing are doing fine. If Koons is leaving Gagosian it’s because he wants the comparative safety of the smaller art business. Schnabel to his credit seems to have chosen entertainment (his paintings are now as bad as Matthew Barney’s films). Salle, Longo and Cindy Sherman made films too, all forgotten. But the daughter of two minor art stars of their generation is now an “art house” favorite on cable. HBO is boutique entertainment, a different economic model than the art world. The middle class is more intellectually serious than the rich but moralizing art critics lambaste the new generation of oligarchs for not upholding the standards of the houses of the Medici and the Sforza. 
You quote Gopnik: “The market for art is unlike any other, because it’s built on some notion of true, underlying value” I come from a background in the aristocratic arts, but I’m a communist. Go figure. You’re not defending art you’re defending the church. 
I’ll ask again: Is Jackson Pollock more important than Alfred Hitchcock?
And I’ll answer: No.
I’ll take art where I can get it, not where it’s supposed to be.
and the second
This is the last time I’ll quote this, even if this time I’ve modified it a bit.
“The market for wine is unlike any other, because it’s built on some notion of true, underlying value.” 
As Lindmann would say: De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum.
But to take that seriously that would have to apply to values as well, so the point is not the right and wrong but the argument. Would you rather have an ongoing debate about wines, or follow someone else’s prescriptions? The criticism of Parker’s enological monoculture is longstanding.
And of course Taleb would call it “fragile”
Your focus as a finance writer colors and limits your coverage of anything else, and therefore limits your coverage of finance itself.
The last link above is something I meant to write about earlier. Salmon provides a link to the Krugman piece that annoyed Taleb. Hard to exaggerate how smug and stupid it is; and absolutely blind to the violence of what can only be described in human terms as catastrophic change.

For a primer and Daniel Davies and the culture of fragility, start here.

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