How can a stuffed shark be worth $12 million?

It was a bargain, I say.  Here is my review of Don Thompson’s excellent The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art.  Here is one excerpt from my review:

Should we think such purchases are silly or noble? Many people recoil
from the contemporary art market as the home of pretension and human
foible, but as expensive pursuits go, the art market is a relatively
beneficial one. The dead shark cost $12 million to buy but, of course,
it didn’t cost nearly that much to make. So the production process
isn’t eating up too many societal resources or causing too much damage
to the environment. For the most part, it’s money passing back and
forth from one set of hands to another, like a game – and, yes, the
game is fun for those who have the money to play it. Don’t laugh, but
we do in fact need some means of determining which of the rich people
are the cool ones, and the art market surely serves that end.


Comments for this post are closed