A scathing critique of the contemporary art world that will have a relatively small audience.

THE ORANGE BALLOON DOG

BUBBLES, TURMOIL AND AVARICE IN THE CONTEMPORARY ART MARKET

An exploration of how “the most newsworthy aspect of contemporary art is the price paid for it.”

This tell-all book won’t give you any insights into how to better appreciate the nuances of Andy Warhol silkscreens, but if you are ultrawealthy, it will tell you how to invest in them, take tax deductions, and, if you wait long enough, make money. Thompson (Emeritus, Marketing and Strategy/York Univ.; The Supermodel and the Brillo Box: Back Stories and Peculiar Economics from the World of Contemporary Art, 2014, etc.) has established himself as one of the premier experts in the world of art investing. He writes here that his two previous books on the subject were based on informed art buyers and sellers and rational pricing. Now, that premise has been “shaken.” Taking us on a “journey through the curious world of high-end contemporary art,” he begins with five iconic works: three by Jeff Koons, including his metallic sculptures Balloon Dog (Orange) and Play-Doh, Christopher Wood’s word painting Apocalypse Now, and Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucien Freud. The author describes the auctions of each, arguing that the astronomical prices being paid for them—Dog went for $52 million, and the winner put it in a warehouse while he waits for its value to increase—were all high-end investments. The price of Apocalypse Now has “increased 4,400 times in twenty-five years.” Thompson explores the upper echelons of this art world in great detail, including tales about auction houses and dealers, tax ploys in acquiring, the relationship between contemporary art and fashion, museums, mega art stores, online selling, and certain big-time buyers. The “most important person in the world of contemporary art” isn’t an artist, he writes; it’s Sheikha al-Mayassa, who heads the Qatar Museums Authority and spends millions to acquire art for a tiny number of museumgoers.

A scathing critique of the contemporary art world that will have a relatively small audience.

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77162-152-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

HUMANS OF NEW YORK

STORIES

Photographer and author Stanton returns with a companion volume to Humans of New York (2013), this one with similarly affecting photographs of New Yorkers but also with some tales from his subjects’ mouths.

Readers of the first volume—and followers of the related site on Facebook and elsewhere—will feel immediately at home. The author has continued to photograph the human zoo: folks out in the streets and in the parks, in moods ranging from parade-happy to deep despair. He includes one running feature—“Today in Microfashion,” which shows images of little children dressed up in various arresting ways. He also provides some juxtapositions, images and/or stories that are related somehow. These range from surprising to forced to barely tolerable. One shows a man with a cat on his head and a woman with a large flowered headpiece, another a construction worker proud of his body and, on the facing page, a man in a wheelchair. The emotions course along the entire continuum of human passion: love, broken love, elation, depression, playfulness, argumentativeness, madness, arrogance, humility, pride, frustration, and confusion. We see varieties of the human costume, as well, from formalwear to homeless-wear. A few celebrities appear, President Barack Obama among them. The “stories” range from single-sentence comments and quips and complaints to more lengthy tales (none longer than a couple of pages). People talk about abusive parents, exes, struggles to succeed, addiction and recovery, dramatic failures, and lifelong happiness. Some deliver minirants (a neuroscientist is especially curmudgeonly), and the children often provide the most (often unintended) humor. One little boy with a fishing pole talks about a monster fish. Toward the end, the images seem to lead us toward hope. But then…a final photograph turns the light out once again.

A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05890-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more