THE ART DEALERS: The Powers Behind the Scene Tell How the Art World Really Works by Laura & Alan Jones--Eds. de Coppet

THE ART DEALERS: The Powers Behind the Scene Tell How the Art World Really Works

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Monologues--presumably edited down from interviews--by 32 New York dealers in contemporary art, from the late Betty Parsons and the legendary Sidney Janis. . . to Soho newcomers. Most of the dealers reminisce about their beginnings; there are overlapping stories about lean years, shared visions, broken partnerships (Ivan Karp and Richard Bellamy, Leo Castelli and just about everybody). Though few of the dealers dwell on the money side of the business, there are telling bits about negotiating with museums and collectors. (Laurence Rubin: ""A collector who is a businessman understands the need to make money and would rather hear what I make than have me trick him into thinking my profit is a small one."") And comments on critics pop up here and there--with general consensus about the stodginess and wrongheadedness of the New York Times through the decades. By and large, however, the dealers are most eager to talk about their artists--principally, here, the Abstract Expressionists, the Pop artists, and the Minimalists. Castelli recalls (as do several others) the discovery of Jasper Johns circa 1957: ""incredibly complete, mature paintings. . . . Targets. . . alphabets; numerals; flags. . . a treasure trove."" Karp talks about the difficulty of taking on new artists, of deciding when to drop old ones. (""Every artist falters, except perhaps Roy Lichtenstein."") The other recurring names include Rauschenberg, Warhol, de Kooning, David Smith, Frank Stella--plus, among young artists, Julian Schnabel. And the Soho contingent touches on prints, Conceptual/Performance art. . . and the problem of theft. Featuring only a few gossipy anecdotes in the manner of John Bernard Myers' Tracking the Marvelous (1983, p. 1201): a rough, uneven assemblage, skimpily annotated (neophytes will be lost), but a rewarding source-book for browser-devotees and students--especially considering the promise of 250 photographs and a detailed index.

Pub Date: March 16th, 1984
Publisher: Potter--dist. by Crown