Had a bizarre dream last night. I was meeting Nassim Taleb and George Soros for lunch at a restaurant on 42nd and 6th, in a downstairs area of the Bank of America building. (Which doesn’t exist in real life, but it was light-filled and hotel-like.) The two of them were plugging their new movie, a feature film made by a venerable Italian director and based on an odd-couple theme. Taleb is a scruffy tramp with an overgrown beard and tatty clothes, while Soros is super dapper, in colorful suits, everybody loves him. They’re friends, but Taleb keeps on thinking he’s embarrassing his friend, so he slinks away and Soros has to run after him. It’s all a bit weird, so the US distributor decided it would get a Hollywood type to cut the trailers in an attempt to gin up interest in the film. Unfortunately, they ended up hiring Ben Stein — so the trailers ended up being incredibly unfunny, and no one went to see it, which was a shame, because despite its odd premise it was actually a funny, thought-provoking movie. Oh, and did I mention that somebody stole my iPad? All in all, very glad it was only a dream.
To my post:
I very much enjoyed being interviewed by you. It was a lot of fun and I must add that your editing team has done a great job of cutting and splicing to make it all look good.
I have also read your commentary which is rather unflattering, though thank you for calling my wife and I a great couple. This remark aside, I feel your brief view into the art market has left you with some serious misconceptions.
First, your idea of challenging me to buy a work of art that would have no economic value sounds clever but is in fact naïve from many perspectives. The notion that great art can be of no value, or that one should “buy what you like” even if it is worthless, is an opinion often held by those who have no background in art or willingness to learn and appreciate art in its full context.
Museums around the globe are filled with important works to which society attributes economic value. Why? Because economic value is how the world recognizes aesthetic, social or historical value in art. The concept that there is something fresh and undiscovered that you alone you would cherish and that no one else would assign any economic value to if they discovered it, too, is idealized and naïve(an object of personal or sentimental value is another matter).
We are all a product of our cultural surroundings and this process begins from the time the doctor cuts the umbilical cord. So there is no fresh and unbiased view of anything, least of all art. The search for the work of art valuable to you and you alone is futile and pointless, art history is a dialogue.
Next, regarding your complaint that I treat the art business as a game, well, yes and no. As you’ve noted in your blogs, any business is a game of buying or selling, whether stocks, bonds etc… I am a collector, but I am also a businessman .Your assertion that I can afford to lose millions investing in art is not only mistaken but you’ve seem to have missed the point.
You are correct that money cannot be the only way to value art, but it is one way the art trade keeps score. This conference, and your interview inspired me to be perhaps somewhat flip, but I believe you’ve misunderstood me. I couldn’t be more serious about collecting, and you might not feel art is an investment, but there is a lot of money changing hands.
I’m sorry you don’t buy into the idea that art can be a good investment but no matter, I wasn’t selling you on it. Many fortunes have been made in art, and a few squandered. But your conclusion that art is not a repository of value comes from left field, it’s bad reporting and just not true. Some art is a good buy, and some is not so good, that simple unbiased view would have kept you out of trouble.
But instead for some strange reason you felt the need to attack my credibility by calling me a plutocrat. Well, though I’ve heard worse, I was asked to speak at this conference because I’ve written two books on the topic and I write a regular column on art collecting for the NY Observer.
I haven’t convinced you of a thing , but perhaps planted a seed of doubt, and some additional reasons for further reporting .Thanks to you and Reuters for your coverage, we’ll take what we can get.
I would actually seriously love to try to make Sous Vide Pigeon Offal. Chances of that ever happening? Slim to none.
But cursive is how you learn “scribbling”! Over time we each grow into our own particular styles of handwriting, but the base from which we grow our own handwriting is through learning cursive writing. Like many, many other skills, learning the “traditional” or “formal” way is the path to outgrowing it.
Trust me, you don’t need to learn cursive in order to learn how to scribble. Exhibit A: Me.
What? This seems backward to me. My mother explained to me many times that one of the many pieces of evidence that the United States is a backward, barbaric country is that children don’t learn cursive and nobody writes in cursive there. (MOMMY, DID YOU LIE TO ME?)
Also, the obvious reason why cursive is superior to block handwriting is that cursive is faster and more convenient, because you can write entire words without lifting pen from paper. There is a small pause between writing each letter in block handwriting, and those add up. It’s like typing on a BlackBerry: you can get reasonably fast with enough practice, but you’ll never be as fast with two thumbs as with ten fingers. It’s also smoother and more pleasurable.
Sorry, worth making a distinction, here, between cursive — that bizarre creature where r looks like n and n looks like m and m looks like some kind of demented waveform — and any old joined-up writing where you scribble words down on a piece of paper without lifting your pen between letters. Scribbling is a useful skill. Cursive, not so much.
Oh dear, I seem to have posted my previous entry as a quote by mistake. How do I switch it from quote to normal? I seem to be able to edit the contents of the quote, but not the way it’s presented!
And this is Elite Models in Paris we’re talking about here, which is about as reputable as modeling agencies get.
So that’s depressing. And, if Drudge and TMZ are your idea of “being smart”, aren’t you setting the bar a little low?
You’ve always wanted a great feature on mail privatization. Well, here you go.
I get annoyed when people insist on looking at their camera after every photo they take. Yet I find myself checking my Tumblr every time I post something here. What’s wrong with me? Will I grow out of it, once I’ve been here for a while? And before you say anything about me being half-German, and that ledge the Germans have in their toilets, forget it. As Larry Summers once said, “I’ve already considered that idea and rejected it.”