Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Art Hijacked by Yacht Hoppers and Party Hijinks

Last Year, I had meant to remind you all to make the pilgrimage to Venice for the 54th Biennale, the oldest   and biggest and most important art exhibition in the world.  Closing day was November 27th.  Art Basel Miami Beach, a little closer to home, was another big one which closed December 4th.

Was it the art or the parties that made all the headlines?  My impression was that the parties got just as much coverage, if not moreso, than the art!  The super-rich art crowd is annoyingly predictable with both their collections of trophy wives and trophy art.  Whether it's multi-million dollar contemporary art collections in a surround of cabbage leaf chintz and dainty Chippendale antiques or austere modernist revisions, there is an emotional disconnect.  I'm tired already of seeing the same old iconic artists (especially my favorites) being rehashed again and again, in over-the-top homes just because they have been stamped Certified and Approved by the DDCWC, or, Department of Dealers, Curators, and Wealthy Collectors.

This article by Charles Saatchi, art's own Oprah Winfrey for laying the golden mantle on young artists, is commendable for its candor.  Saatchi could likely afford the yacht shown below, but more likely he will spend his profits on more art to feed the world.

Quick Quiz Question:  Who is the biggest art spender?

Answer: Sheikh Saud bin Ali-al-Thani, of the Qatar royal family. He reportedly spent several hundred million dollars in just the past two years.  So put THAT in your decorating budget and smoke it!

A super yacht moored in Venice for the art biennale.
 Photograph: Chris Helgren/Reuters/Corbis

And now may I introduce Charles Saatchi, self-professed artaholic, commenting on the State of the Art: 


  1. renee, the sheikh needs to hire you to decorate his yacht!

    is this the same saatchi who is married to the bodacious nigella lawson?

  2. I suppose I would consider the opportunity...oh but to get to just hang the paintings would be heaven! Would you send word to him that I'm willing to travel and agree only to work without a budget?

    And yeah, Nigella is the cook in the house.