Felix Salmon

Art, venture capital, and down-round phobia

July 16, 2013

Ben Horowitz has a great guide to the dreaded “down round” today — that unloved point in the evolution of a venture-backed technology company when it’s forced to raise money at a lower valuation than it received in previous rounds. Certainly, such things shouldn’t be unexpected. As he explains:

Why Detroit’s art must stay

June 18, 2013

Let me clear this up so that Donn Zaretsky can have no doubt. When I say that the Michigan attorney general is “absolutely right” that the art collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts cannot be sold to satisfy the city’s financial obligations, I mean that he’s right both legally and normatively.

Democratic art

April 16, 2013

Maud Newton has a good introduction to the art of Molly Crabapple, whose new paintings are being raucously exhibited at a storefront gallery on the Lower East Side. The new work was born of Occupy, and shares much of its ethos:

Why techies don’t buy contemporary art

April 8, 2013

Alice Gregory, in the NYT, has been reading her Austen: “It is a truth universally acknowledged,” she writes, “that a young technologist in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a high-end art collection”. Well, maybe she doesn’t put it exactly like that. But that’s her clear message:

A very smart way to save antiquities

March 1, 2013

I first heard about the Sustainable Preservation Initiative back in 2009. Back then, it was little more than an idea attached to a tollgate. The problem at hand is the large number of antiquities and important archaeological sites which exist in poor areas of poor countries. Historically, that has been a recipe for looting; more recently, those sites have been more at risk of simply being bulldozed as urban areas sprawl. As SPI’s Larry Coben and Rebekah Junkermeier write, the way that archaeologists have historically attempted to address those problems — conservation, education and museums — simply didn’t work. So, they came up with another idea — one which would give locals a sustainable financial incentive to maintain and preserve their patrimony.

Art world lawsuit of the day: Mirvish vs Knoedler

February 25, 2013

There’s a very simple and cost-free thing that all news organizations can do to make their news better: every time you write about a court filing or judgment, link to it. (And, ideally, make sure it’s been uploaded to Recap, too.) For instance, consider Patricia Cohen’s NYT article about David Mirvish’s lawsuit against the Knoedler gallery. (See what I did there? You’re welcome.)

Stevie Cohen, collector of traders and art

January 18, 2013

Gary Sernovitz, a research analyst turned novelist, has 3,500 words in n+1 about Stevie Cohen, trading, and art collecting. That’s about 3,000 words too many: his core thesis is really pretty simple. Cohen’s art collecting, says Sernovitz, holds up a mirror to his professional life: both are about the “struggle against the mortality of the edge”.

Larry Gagosian’s feet of clay

December 15, 2012

Carol Vogel has a good summation of the craziness at Gagosian right now. Within the space of a week, the largest and most important art gallery in the world suffered three massive defections: first Jeff Koons announced he would have a major show with archrival David Zwirner, then Damien Hirst said he was leaving Gagosian entirely, and then Yayoi Kusama said that she, too, was leaving.

The contemporary-art bubble

December 11, 2012

Blake Gopnik has an excellent piece on the art bubble in the latest Newsweek (where he was sadly laid off last week), which has been met by a predictable rubbishing from Marion Maneker. Both men agree on the symptoms: prices unrelated to quality, and artists who can go from hot to not in a very short amount of time. But they disagree on what those symptoms mean: Gopnik thinks that they mean “today’s contemporary market is due to deflate”, while Maneker sees art-market ups and downs as just part of what happens in any healthily-functioning market, and nothing to get particularly excited about.