Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Profile of a "Perfectly Designed Biological Mechanism"

Sarah Douglas, who contributed an excellent entry for my 6 Books series, has written a piece about art dealer Larry Gagosian for Intelligent Life (a new magazine from the brains at The Economist). A taste:
It used to be thought that no dealer had ever matched Joseph Duveen, who criss-crossed America before the first world war, hawking Impressionist masterpieces from his briefcase to robber barons eager to add some status to their wealth. But then along came Gagosian. He has spent the past quarter-century creating a network of galleries--three in New York, one in Los Angeles, two in London, and now the one in Rome--that is unheard of in the art world. While others busied themselves in their boutiques, he built a multinational corporation for selling painting and sculpture--the contemporary collector's Wal-Art.
I love the description of Gagosian that Sarah got from New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl: "His opportunism is transparent. It's not underhand: it's all overhand. He is not complicated. He's like a shark or a cat or some other perfectly designed biological mechanism."

Read the whole thing.


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