The $12 Million Stuffed Shark

The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art
Narrated by: Adam Verner
Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (114 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Why would a smart New York investment banker pay $12 million for the decaying, stuffed carcass of a shark? By what alchemy does Jackson Pollock's drip painting "No. 5, 1948" sell for $140 million?

Intriguing and entertaining, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark is a Freakonomics approach to the economics and psychology of the contemporary art world. Why were record prices achieved at auction for works by 131 contemporary artists in 2006 alone, with astonishing new heights reached in 2007? Don Thompson explores the money, lust, and self-aggrandizement of the art world in an attempt to determine what makes a particular work valuable while others are ignored.

This book is the first to look at the economics and the marketing strategies that enable the modern art market to generate such astronomical prices. Drawing on interviews with both past and present executives of auction houses and art dealerships, artists, and the buyers who move the market, Thompson launches the listener on a journey of discovery through the peculiar world of modern art. Surprising, passionate, gossipy, and revelatory, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark reveals a great deal that even experienced auction purchasers do not know.

©2008 Don Thompson (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"[An] informative an occasionally hilarious look at the surreal contemporary art market...A clear-headed approach to a frequently high-pitched issue." ( Kirkus)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Repetitive & Dry

Could use a good editor. Author manages to turn potentially fascinating information into a slog through dull chapters. Narration fine but could not save the book.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

A fun educational listen

This book is great, a little dated but the facts are still true and the insights offered are invaluable. If you've ever been interested in contemporary art, art auctions, or the ridiculous prices paid for art this is the book for you!
and whats great is that there is no prior knowledge required, the author lays it all out in a very accessible way! I highly recommend this book

1 person found this helpful