The Epicurean Dealmaker reckons that
modern art is rubbish
art is kitsch. "A major function of kitsch in the present century is
to reassure its consumers of their status and position," he says, and reckons
that precisely such motivations lie behind the $80 million purchase by Ken
Griffin of a Jasper Johns painting:
Clearly, a leather-bound set of Franklin Library classics or a Thomas Kinkade
print "hand-highlighted under the supervision of the artist" is
not going to cut the mustard in the 10021 zip code, but what about a Jasper
Johns painting, or a Damien Hirst sculpture? Just the ticket "to confirm
the [cultural] literacy and wealth of its owner," no?
Even better if you and everyone you invite to your Park Avenue coop knows
that you paid $80 million for the thing. For no-one can remain unaffected
by such knowledge when they attempt to appreciate or understand a work of
I don’t buy it. Who’s going to cut more mustard in the 10021 zip code –
the man who bought his Jasper Johns for $80 million, or the man who bought his
Jasper Johns for $80,000?
Also, note to TED: the Hirst shark at the Met is not bisected, not even if
you say it is twice. And if you set the background color of your blog to #e8ffbf
(a kind of lemon-lime), people are unlikely to take your verdict that a given
Johns is "half-baked" particularly seriously.