Tag Archives: art collectors


3 Jul

purple2 edit“Money is the opposite of art… Art is the expression of ideas– some of them very foresighted– of lofty ideals, of political insights, and of deep-felt emotions. As such, it should not be price-tagged.”

Baroness Marion Lambert the millionaire art collector from Geneva, who may well be right in this case but is apparently oblivious to irony and to cognitive dissonance. Maybe she just means she never has to bother looking at the price of anything. From the book Collecting Contemporary Art, published by Taschen.


2 Jul

Jean-Pierre Lehmann, New York art collector, describes a particularly annoying trait of contemporary artists:

“One of the problems artists today are going to face is that life, in general, is much longer than it used to be. You don’t have artists dying of tuberculosis or alcoholism when they are thirty-five or forty and leaving very interesting works– but very limited quantities, because their lives were limited. Now, most artists will probably live like everybody else until eighty, ninety or one hundred, and if they want to produce until the end, they’ll have problems, because their productive years will be much longer. Probably then you will see the difference between the good and the less good.”

If you’re an artist who just graduated you’d better get cracking on drinking yourself to death. If you’re over forty, ugh, why are you even still alive? The first of a few choice quotes from Taschen’s book Collecting Contemporary Art.



19 Jun

HandsOfOrlacRecently Charles Saatchi– multimillionaire art collector, YBA grandee, head of doublespeak and propaganda for Margaret Thatcher’s election to Prime Minister– was photographed in public with his hands around the neck of his wife, Nigella Lawson. (Original pictures here if you don’t know or can’t imagine what domestic violence, physical bullying and spousal abuse looks like).

His absurd explanation cements my view of what a nasty piece of work he’s always been.

“About a week ago, we were sitting outside a restaurant having an intense debate about the children, and I held Nigella’s neck repeatedly while attempting to emphasise my point.

“There was no grip, it was a playful tiff. The pictures are horrific but give a far more drastic and violent impression of what took place. Nigella’s tears were because we both hate arguing, not because she had been hurt.”

If he believes in this explanation, he’s truly psychotic. Such behaviour could conceivably be construed as “playful” if they were in a BDSM dungeon rather than discussing childcare at a restaurant, but even in that case there’d be a safe word so Nigella could stop him if she thought he was going too far.

I think it’s more likely that he’s just a boring, pathetic old mini-dick wife beater like any other but his ad man’s contempt for the public is so boundless that he assumes they’ll swallow any old crap so he couldn’t be bothered to come up with anything better than this pathetic fairytale.

The police didn’t buy it either, and cautioned him, i.e., for those unfamiliar with UK police practice, he was given a legally binding and permanently recorded warning that he could have been charged with a crime but was being excused on this occasion.

I’m emphasising this incident not just because laying a hand on anybody to “make a point” is never right and doing it to your partner is unlawful domestic abuse and assault, although that would be reason enough to post it. I’m mainly posting it to note the extreme unlikelihood that anybody in the art world will think any less of Saatchi as a result of this episode, let alone shun or boycott him. In fact, give it a week or two and I guarantee you’ll see high profile Saatchi apologists sliming out of the woodwork to say that we shouldn’t take any notice of the actions or morality of the man himself because he’s done so much for art. Or even worse, they’ll be saying that we shouldn’t say anything negative about him at all just because of his power and because speaking truth to power is career suicide (hence the name of this blog, in case you hadn’t noticed.)

There are so many evil people in the art world, people who are exceedingly well known as wrong ‘uns by practically everybody in the sector. It rarely cramps their style very much, or gives most artists, critics or gallerists much pause in dealing with them. Anita Zabludowicz, in addition to being an educationally sub-normal modern day Marie Antoinette, funds her “art philanthropy” with her husband’s arms dealing fortune. Some so-called art galleries are little more than tax dodges or money laundering facilities. There’s a notorious British gallery director who’s bounced from one leading role to another either in spite of (and in some ways because of) the fact that he’s familiar as a sex pest with a tendency to irrational, psychotic rages… familiar, indeed, even to people who haven’t met him. Those who have met him recall their encounters with a shudder, especially if they’re female. Although the arts in Britain provide employment for about 2.5 million people all told (more than the finance and construction industries, incidentally) in some ways it’s a very small business. Anybody’s who’s in it to any significant degree knows the bad apples. Despots, warlords, oligarchs, gangsters and malignant motherfuckers in general are some of the best customers of Christie’s, Sotheby’s and the major galleries. The nasty, overprivileged, sociopathic, blood-sucking trash that washes up at Venice, Frieze, Art Basel and whatnot has to be seen to believed. The top end of the art world is mostly revoltingly immoral and no good person can survive in it for long, nor would they want to. You know, just FYI.

PS: Quite an important PS that I should have added in the first place… if you are a victim of domestic abuse then help and support are available. One in four women and one in six men in the UK are statistically likely to be subjected to domestic violence at some point in their lives. Start with a useful, straightforward and non-judgemental page from the NHS: Help for domestic violence. Since Charles Saatchi seems to be confused about the difference between a reasonable discussion and physically intimidating his wife, he might benefit from reading this NHS page as well. It states that

We think of domestic violence as hitting, slapping and beating, but it can also include emotional abuse as well as forced marriage and so-called “honour crimes”. It’s abuse if your partner or a family member:

  • threatens you

  • shoves or pushes you

  • makes you fear for your physical safety

  • puts you down, or attempts to undermine your self-esteem

  • controls you, for example by stopping you seeing your friends and family

  • is jealous and possessive, such as being suspicious of your friendships and conversations

  • frightens you


25 Feb

DERP. This is the closest Anita can get to the human expression known as “smile” when she’s wearing her rigid Anita flesh mask.

Hello darlings, mwah mwah mwah, thank you so much for coming– I thought you were still in Dubai for the arms fair! Art collector and spender of her husband’s dirty money Anita Zabludowicz (see Apotheosis of the idiot) has excelled herself recently with her Art Diary [sic] about a trip to India. Never has an art diary had so little to do with either art or diaries. Or a basic level of literacy, empathy and emotional fluency. Apparently it makes her sad that the poor people in India don’t smile. Cheer up, bastards. She needn’t get on her high horse, anyway. I’ve never seen a photo of her– and she has herself photographed constantly– where her face even seemed physiologically capable of smiling. She also says:

“The locals could not do enough for us, they only wanted to please us and this was their reward, I wish us Brits were more like that.”

Lovely little brown people, adorable! A bit dirty, though. I think you’ll find that they’d prefer their reward to be money and not having to live in servile destitution and desperate squalor, Anita. I’m pretty sure Gandhi is still available on DVD; I suggest you watch it. On behalf of every man, woman and child in all the nations of the United Kingdom, I also apologise wholeheartedly for us not being subservient or powerless enough for you, Big Z. Don’t worry, though, your husband’s cowering accomplices in the Conservative Party are making some progress towards rolling back all our hard-won freedoms and accomplishments. It’ll be just like India, not even India now but India a century ago! “I say, Lady Zabludowicz, frightful bad luck… was aiming for the tiger and one of your bally rickshaw-wallahs got in the way. Blasted his head right orff. Send my condolences to the widow, and so forth. Now, where’s that blasted tea?” Continue reading


9 Feb

Pinot Gallizio cutting and selling a scroll of industrial paintings by the meter. Inauguration of ‘Industrille Malerei’ show at Van de Loo Gallery, Munich, April 1959.

Giuseppe (Pinot) Gallizio (1904-1964) worked for most of his life as a pharmacist in Turin. Like many people (including me) who come late or by an otherwise circuitous route to the art world, many of its practices and assumptions struck him as utterly absurd; even more so as he began to participate in them. Gallizio was a founding member of the International Situationists (society of the spectacle masking the degrading effects of capitalism, Guy Debord, the 1968 French uprisings, détournement, dérives, etc: it’s far too large a subject to cover in a single blog post…) and in his art works he tried to cultivate a sense of play and creativity in the face of the capitalist imperative to recuperate, neutralise, and monetise even something as indefinable as art.

One of his projects was industrial paintings, abstract works on scrolls that were designed to be sold and cut on the spot like any other commodity, such as the original blank canvas it was painted on.  The paintings themselves aren’t actually very good or interesting, but that isn’t the point of them. He was making fun of the idea of art as a unique object or a finite resource; judging by the photos on the left, he was having a lot of fun doing it too. What a suave gent. I have to admit that on a few occasions I’ve rocked this bushy moustache and bow tie look at art openings. There’s a post on Yves Klein coming up soon; he favoured similar outfits as well and he also always looks like he’s having a great time in all the photos of him I’ve seen. I’m definitely going to apply myself to perfecting the late 50s/early 60s Continental look now. Like Klein, Gallizio was ahead of his time with his thinking on capitalism, commodification and intellectual property in the art world and in Western society in general.

Continue reading

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