Binds of the Times

Lionel shares an interesting recent read as well as a few recommended magazines and a website.

The $12 Million Stuffed Shark  by  Don Thompson

“An interesting book about the art market.” — Lionel Smit
Why would a smart New York investment banker pay $12 million for the decaying, stuffed carcass of a shark? By what alchemy does Jackson Pollock’s drip painting “No. 5, 1948 “sell for $140 million?

Intriguing and entertaining, “The $12 Million Stuffed Shark” is a “Freakonomics” approach to the economics and psychology of the contemporary art world. Why were record prices achieved at auction for works by 131 contemporary artists in 2006 alone, with astonishing new heights reached in 2007?

Don Thompson explores the money, lust, and self-aggrandizement of the art world in an attempt to determine what makes a particular work valuable while others are ignored. This book is the first to look at the economics and the marketing strategies that enable the modern art market to generate such astronomical prices. Drawing on interviews with past and present executives of auction houses and art dealerships, artists, and the buyers who move the market, Thompson launches the reader on a journey of discovery through the peculiar world of modern art. Surprising, passionate, gossipy, revelatory, “The $12 Million Stuffed Shark” reveals a great deal that even experienced auction purchasers do not know.

Lionel Smit recommended the following magazines
and publication to aspiring artists and art lovers.

The South African Art Times

Gabriel Clark-Brown established the SA Art Information Directory in 2003. For the first time in South Africa’s art history, comprehensive listings of current and upcoming art exhibitions were available to the public.

Due to the gross lack of communication within the arts community at this time, it became obvious that a consistent means of communication was needed to link the dots between members, conducting news and information between them. For the sake of growing the visual arts community, there was also a need for information sharing that was not purely academic or commercial, but with grass roots in nature.

So, the South African Art Times was started in December 2006. Through the years, it has grown from an 8 pager with a 2 000 print run, to a 52 pager with a distribution of 30 000!

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Art South Africa

Art South Africa is on the move, experimental, provocative, intelligent, Art South Africa today sees itself a vehicle that celebrates Africa’s future-present. Always optimistic — even at the heart of a dark reflection — Art South Africa conjures possibility, champions dreams and tracks innovation; inspired by a world-wide transformation in communications, business models, design thinking, and art practice, Art South Africa is here to show and tell us about the positive outcomes of risk-taking. Focused on African culture, creativity and
the arts in general while holding onto its core market — the visual arts – Art South Africa understands that life is meaningless without dreams, tastes hollow without love, and viewpoints pretentious if not profoundly felt. Fusing great heart with great mind proves the greatest challenge; Art South Africa delivers this vision.

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Popular Mechanics

“I always feel the boundaries between art and technology will become blurred.” — Lionel Smit

Popular Mechanics is for people who have a passion to know how things work. It’s about how the latest advances in science and technology will impact your home, your car, consumer electronics, computers, even your health. Popular Mechanics — answers for curious minds.

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ArtThrob is South Africa’s leading contemporary visual arts publication, reporting on the national arts scene and the involvement of South African artists in the international art world. Founded as a one-person site by Sue Williamson in August 1997, ArtThrob has since expanded to many times its original size.

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