Art Reads – Page Turners

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The $12 Million Stuffed Shark by Don Thompson

A Well Researched look at the economics and marketing strategies enabling the high priced art market

This book by Don Thompson deals with the high end of the contemporary art market and provides an in-depth exploration of what keeps the prices at such astronomical levels.  The author draws on interviews with art dealers, artists, executives from top auction houses and even the art collectors themselves to bring about his informative, entertaining (and sometimes gossipy) account of the seemingly surreal contemporary art market.

I Bought Andy Warhol by Richard Polsky

 A behind the scenes account of the contemporary art market from a dealer

I Bought Andy Warhol is basically the personal account of everything that happens on an art dealer’s quest to find the perfect piece to add to his collection by the highly acclaimed artist.  Beginning in 1987, the author put aside $100,000 for his acquisition but the book takes the reader through the early 90’s when the price of art plummeted and there was widespread panic throughout the industry.  Richard Polsky brings in many anecdotes from his experience in the art world and along with all the insight into the inner dealings of the industry; the book is surprisingly engaging and entertaining.  Very easy to read, this is a great choice for anyone that is curious about what happens behind closed doors in the art market and the eccentric personalities that are the driving force behind it all.

Infinity Net, the Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama

 A powerful insight into the complicated mind of a renowned contemporary artist

This absorbing autobiography tells the story of Yayoi Kusama’s fascinating life from growing up in a confined environment in Japan to making the move to New York City and finally having the freedom to develop as an artist. The book feels almost like a novel as the reader is given a look into the artist’s haunted mind but also taken through the conception and execution of her most avant-garde works.  From painting to sculpture to her famous happenings, Kusama’s struggle and need to create take shape through her amazing story.

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

For fun

This novel written by (the one and only) Steve Martin follows the young and ambitious Lacey Yeager as she strategically navigates through the New York City art world. Coming from the mind of a definite insider, this work of fiction contains several elements that would certainly not be unheard of in the real world. The story gets you hooked from the very beginning, turning this book into a quick and entertaining read.  Also, because I’m a nerd, the actual hard cover version of this book is really nice to hold and look at even containing some beautiful illustrations inside.
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