Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art

Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art

by Michael Shnayerson


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The meteoric rise of the largest unregulated financial market in the world-for contemporary art-is driven by a few passionate, guileful, and very hard-nosed dealers. They can make and break careers and fortunes.

The contemporary art market is an international juggernaut, throwing off multimillion-dollar deals as wealthy buyers move from fair to fair, auction to auction, party to glittering party. But none of it would happen without the dealers-the tastemakers who back emerging artists and steer them to success, often to see them picked off by a rival.

Dealers operate within a private world of handshake agreements, negotiating for the highest commissions. Michael Shnayerson, a longtime contributing editor to Vanity Fair, writes the first ever definitive history of their activities. He has spoken to all of today's so-called mega dealers-Larry Gagosian, David Zwirner, Arne and Marc Glimcher, and Iwan Wirth-along with dozens of other dealers-from Irving Blum to Gavin Brown-who worked with the greatest artists of their times: Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, and more.

This kaleidoscopic history begins in the mid-1940s in genteel poverty with a scattering of galleries in midtown Manhattan, takes us through the ramshackle 1950s studios of Coenties Slip, the hipster locations in SoHo and Chelsea, London's Bond Street, and across the terraces of Art Basel until today. Now, dealers and auctioneers are seeking the first billion-dollar painting. It hasn't happened yet, but they are confident they can push the price there soon.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610398404
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 05/21/2019
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 71,694
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Michael Shnayerson is a long-time contributing editor to Vanity Fair and the author of eight books on a range of non-fiction subjects, from biographies of entertainer Harry Belafonte (My Song) and New York governor Andrew Cuomo (The Contender) to narrative-driven accounts of drug-resistant bacteria (The Killer Within) and mountaintop coal removal (Coal River). Shnayerson is married to Gayfryd Steinberg, and lives in Sag Harbor and Manhattan.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

Prologue The Kings and Their Court 1

Part I Miracle On 57th Street 1947-1979

Chapter 1 Before Downtown 15

Chapter 2 The Elegant Mr. Castelli 35

Chapter 3 Pop, Minimalism, and the Move to SoHo 61

Part II The Eighties Explode 1979-1990

Chapter 4 Young Man in a Hurry 81

Chapter 5 The Start of a Dissolute Decade 99

Chapter 6 SoHo and Beyond 118

Chapter 7 Boom, Then Gloom 136

Part III Reinventing The Contemporary 1990-2008

Chapter 8 Up from the Ashes 151

Chapter 9 The Europeans Swoop In 168

Chapter 10 The Curious Charm of Chelsea 186

Chapter 11 The Mega Dealers 200

Chapter 12 LA Rising 224

Part IV Apocalypse Not 2009-2014

Chapter 13 A Most Astonishing Revival 247

Chapter 14 Lawsuits and London 262

Chapter 15 Larry's Annus Horribilis 275

Chapter 16 A Market for Black Artists at Last 289

Chapter 17 A Colombian Fairy Tale 304

Chapter 18 The Art Farmers 315

Part V Vying For Supremacy 2015-2019

Chapter 19 A Question of Succession 327

Chapter 20 Turbulence at Two Citadels of Art 339

Chapter 21 Art Fairs Forever 356

Chapter 22 Dirty Laundry 366

Chapter 23 The Dealer Is Present 372

Chapter 24 Of Sharks and Suckerfish 382

Acknowledgments 397

Notes 401

Bibliography 431

Index 437

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Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous 17 days ago
Boom offers a great history and investigation into the contemporary art market. Focused specifically on the history of galleries in NY - the book presents a 'who's who' of major art dealers from 1940s to present day. Really well written and very fun to read! Perfect for art lovers!