Friday, August 30, 2019

Collectors Are Now Collecting Museums, Not the Other Way Around

By Felix Salmon

When a big-name museum starts buying up the work of the artists that its board collects, those artists’ prices rise, along with the value of the collections they are in. On top of that, board members receive priority when it comes to buying new work. At the highest levels of art collecting, board memberships and other institutional affiliations are table stakes: it can be almost impossible to collect the most coveted art without them. In other words, increasingly we live not in a world where museums collect collectors, but rather in a world where collectors collect museums. Museums ostensibly serve high philanthropic ideals of education, curatorship, conservation and connoisseurship—but increasingly they are instead being used to serve the narrow agenda of their ultra-rich board members. [More]