December 24, 1989 |
According to Sotheby's Auction House, there are about 500 people alive today willing and able to pay upwards of $25 million for a work of art--and having bought such a work, their nest eggs wouldn't be blown. They could do it again next week. Engorged with vast amounts of credit and the frighteningly huge art-buying budgets of the Japanese, the art world's gross turnover per year presently hovers at around $50 billion. Always a lawless frontier free of regulation either internal or externally enforced, the art market is presently in the midst of a ferocious plains war being waged with the almighty buck, and at this point, history's entire cache of visual culture is caught in the crossfire.