Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hints + Tips - A Must Read Book

About half a year ago I was recommended by Artel Gallery on Twitter (@artelgalleryuk) to read the book The $12 Million Stuffed Shark - The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art written by Don Thompson. At the time when I purchased it I was studying Microeconomics as one of my subjects at Uni, which I think helped me understand parts of what I was reading. I'm a bit of slow reader and only recently have I finished all 268 pages of the book.

The $12 Million Stuffed Shark, covers mainly Contemporary Art especially Pop Art, though does go into other genres of art. It uses mainly artists such as Francis Bacon, Damien Hirst, Any Warhol and Jeff Koons as examples of the workings of the economics of the Contemporary Art world.

The book is written by Don Thompson who is an university lecturer so at times can be hard going and you feel like your going through a paper rather than a book, but it touches on many topics that as a practicing artist I found interesting. It looks at the branding of auctions, artists and dealers, the auction psychology, fakes, pricing, the role of art critics and similarly related areas of the economics of Contemporary Art and just how does a stuffed shark sell for $12, that's if it sold for that price at all.

Now I don't want to give too much away, but whilst reading the book I was able to relate it to experiences I've had with galleries, buyers and what I've witnessed in the general art scene. Whilst I might not be selling pieces worth millions there are some gold nugget bits of advice throughout the book which I've started to implement into the way I sell my art. It has also given me a greater understanding of the impact that actions by individuals and companies can have on the art world in general. I large portion of the chapters is dedicated to the auction houses, and this can be at times fascinating, however I did have to try my hardest to push on through and keep reading.

I'd recommend for anyone interested in art, specifically contemporary art to read it as well as fellow artists. For the $20 or so it cost me get the book and the time I spent reading it, I think it was well worth the investment.

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