Seven Days in the Art World

Asher has no dealer; his work is not generally for sale.  When I ask the artist whether he resists the art market, he says dryly: "I don’t avoid commodity forms.  In 1966 I made these plastic bubbles.  They were shaped like paint blisters that came an inch off the wall.  I sold one of those."

That is from the very fun Seven Days in the Art World, by Sarah Thornton.  Here is Felix Salmon on the book.  How about this part?:

The artist Keith Tyson admits that he had a gambling problem when he was a nominee in 2002.  "I had an intellectual interest in chance as well as a fantasy of beating the laws of mathematics," he said.  "The Turner Prize was my first opportunity to bet when I could have an effect.  My odds were seven to two.  In a four-horse race, that is an insult.  I had absolutely no choice.  I’m sure it is solely because of the bets I put on myself that I went from being the underdog to the favorite.  I won’t say how much I took home, but won more from betting than I did from winning what was then a twenty-thousand pound prize."

In other words, prizes, plus a betting market on the prize winner, create especially strong incentives.


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