Felix Salmon

The weird resignation of Brandeis’s president

September 25, 2009

The latest chapter in the Brandeis fiasco is that president Jehuda Reinharz is resigning, just one year after signing a new five-year employment contract. The official letters don’t once mention the name “Rose”, which is insane: how can Reinharz say with a straight face that he “will leave the University in good condition with a strong foundation on which to build in the future”, even as there’s still enormous uncertainty over the question of whether the university will have to sell millions of dollars from the Rose’s art museum just to make up its funding shortfall?

Hirst: Still weak

September 17, 2009

Scott Reyburn has a very misleading lede to his Hirst story:

Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) — A year after the record Damien Hirst sale, works by the artist are again being valued at levels seen at the peak of the art market boom.

Art museum discount rate datapoint of the day

September 8, 2009

It seems that the Long Beach Museum of Art would rather lose $569,000 in annual operating support from the city of Long Beach than repay the principal on a $3.06 million loan. I find that hard to understand: it should just take the $569,000 and use some fraction of it to pay off the $3 million over time, spending the rest on art and programming. Or is there some good reason why the museum’s implied discount rate is so incredibly high (over 18%)?

Annie Leibovitz’s exit strategy

August 31, 2009

Bloomberg’s Katya Kazakina has done the rounds of various real-estate appraisers, asking them how much Annie Leibovitz’s property might be worth, and it turns out that the real estate alone – never mind her life’s work – could well sell for substantially more than she owes Art Capital Group. But, as Kazakina says with delicious understatement:

Art in a recession

August 14, 2009

In 2007, hot young artist Doug Aitken unveiled a massive public video-art project at MoMA. Sleepwalkers featured A-list celebrities, acres of publicity, and millions of dollars in production costs; its Flash site alone almost certainly cost many multiples of the total budget for Those About to Die Salute You, the utterly insane and hugely enjoyable public-art project put on by Duke Riley at the Queens Museum of Art last night in conjunction with the Brooklyn Museum, Bronx Museum of the Arts, and El Museo del Barrio.