Felix Salmon

Why art isn’t a commodity, Cady Noland edition

Dan Duray had the news on Friday of the latest big-money lawsuit in the New York art world: dealer Marc Jancou is suing Sotheby’s and artist Cady Noland for $26 million.

Weird art-valuation justifications of the day, Sarah Thornton edition

Sarah Thornton has an interesting theory on why art prices keep on spiraling upwards:

Art market datapoints of the day

Many thanks to Zac Bissonnette for fisking the latest Bloomberg gushery on art funds for me, so I don’t have to. This fund isn’t going to produce disappointing returns: it’s probably not even going to get off the ground to begin with. Does Bloomberg’s Scott Reyburn have a clue what “unconfirmed commitments” are? I suspect they’re the fund-world equivalent of vaporware.

The hot-young-artists league table

Many thanks to Amy King at Artnet, who put this league table together for me, showing the artists who have grossed the most money at auction before their 30th birthday. (Technically, it’s total auction revenue up to and including the full year in which they turn 30.)

Art market datapoints of the day, China edition

I suspect we’re still only in its early days, but there’s no doubt that we’re in a massive Chinese-art bubble right now. And for proof, all you need to do is look at the league table of the highest-grossing artists of 2011.

Art is not an investment, part 872

I’m not sure what’s more offensive, the SWAG acronym (it stands for Silver, Wine, Art, Gold), or Patrick Mathurin’s lede in Monday’s FT:

Golden ticket economics, part 2: Damien Hirst

Yes, the Damien Hirst Complete Spot Challenge is a thing:

Visit all eleven Gagosian Gallery locations during the exhibition The Complete Spot Paintings 1986–2011 and receive a signed spot print by Damien Hirst, dedicated personally to you.

How Alice Walton has improved America

Jeffrey Goldberg is on something of an anti-Walmart campaign — and there’s nothing particularly wrong with that. There’s a lot of things to dislike about Walmart, including the fact, as Goldberg notes in his latest Bloomberg View column, that its stores don’t have windows. But having decided that he doesn’t like Walmart, Goldberg is attacking the company and its founding family on grounds which don’t stand up to scrutiny.

When art galleries ratify forgeries

Patricia Cohen has uncovered the art-world scandal of the year: it seems as though Knoedler, the 164-year-old Upper East Side institution, closed abruptly on Wednesday in large part to protect itself against a $17 million lawsuit from Pierre Lagrange. Lagrange spent that sum on a Pollock which he then discovered contained two paints which had not been manufactured until after Pollock died. And now it seems that Knoedler regularly sold AbEx paintings procured by Glafira Rosales with the vaguest of provenance: