Million, schmillion - Page 2

YEAR IN VISUAL ART: What to make of 2013's big-ticket art sales

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Jeff Koons' 'Balloon Dog (Orange)' set a world record this year when it sold for $58,405,000.
PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2013

And, I'm not even going to get too upset about that orange Jeff Koons dog sale, clearly an act of peer showmanship. Like an episode of Voltron, the other four colored dogs are scattered between billionaires Steven Cohen (Yellow); the Broad Foundation (Blue); Francois Pinault (Magenta); and Dakis Joannou's DESTE Foundation (Red). In the end, you know what? At a relative scale for us worker bees, $58 million is something like splurging on a Basil Racuk bag. Maybe not entirely necessary, but well worth the dough, and I can totally understand the peer pressure if your friends are all lucky enough to have one.

My most optimistic take on this is that money flooding in at the top end of the market helps not just bluest blue chip artists like Koons, and not even the newly minted blue chips like Grotjahn, but also helps to redefine what a quality work of art ought to cost, and widens the expectations for what wealthier people than you and me ought to be paying. Let's face it: I'm not in the market for a Francis Bacon painting, nor are you. *

For the curious, I got the top ten list from ARTnews.com; each billionaire's net worth from Forbes.com; and the auction results from Christies.com. I'm sure the more statistically inclined among you will take issue with my unweighted averages, and I hope you feel free to comment with more elegant calculations than mine.

 

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