The (so called) Fine Arts thread

With the recent passing of important artistic figures such as Richard Serra and Fernando Botero, thought we might want a dedicated spot to discuss what’s going on in the world of (the so called) fine arts other than the passing reference to someone when they’ve died.

The theater of the art world can be really compelling. Recently, there was the story of the Russian oligarch who sued Sotheby’s auction house for fraud over their handling of the Salvator Mundi that made mainstream news. Ofc there are a bunch of dedicated mags and papers to art news, other than the NY Times Arts section, that are worth checking out.

The ArtNet podcast and the Art Newspaper podcast are decent listens as well.

Then there are the auction houses which livestream all the sales. Here are the auction calendars for three of the major houses:

There are others though like, Swann, Bonhams, Heritage, and Hindman to name a few.

The best stuff though are probably the museum and gallery exhibitions. A couple of the bigger things around the city that I’m looking forward to checking out are

and the Olympics of the art world,


Anyway. Discuss what you’re into, seen, want to see. Whatever. This thread is art too

edit: inb4

I can’t remember if I’ve posted this before, but Basquiat’s work does nothing for me and I feel weird about that. I’m a cishet white dude and I can’t help but feel like that has something to do with it. Went to an exhibition put on by his family/estate over the holidays and I was interested to learn a little bit more about him, but the art just completely misses me.

I enjoy experiencing and making art, which imo has almost zero to do with the “art world,” famous pieces and names, “masterpieces” … is the Mona Lisa really that good? Even if you believe it is a masterwork across generations, its value seems to be more as a cultural placeholder.

I don’t think it’s much of a hot take to say art has been hijacked by capitalism … or maybe more accurate to say capitalism has created a straw man named Art to masturbate to.

what’s not to love?


The top 2 are cool. At least when I see them in person they’re all like this


figuring out what you respond to is part of the experience. maybe central to the experience. feels reductive to focus on your sexuality or color as reasons tho. don’t think anyone who said they liked Basquiat’s work bc they were black or bisexual would be taken seriously, for example

and abstract expressionism is just out there sometimes. won’t be to everyone’s liking for sure


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This video about the art market was kind of a jaw-drop for me:

thanks for sharing. checked it out (so you don’t have to).

the first 10 minutes are about how the auction houses work, something about Roy Lichtenstein and an art dealer, a couple of minutes on the Salvator Mundi saga (there’s a link about this story in the op with much juicier details), and few minutes on Mugrabi and his Warhol collection (here’s a story on it from the WSJ in 2008).

the most jaw dropping statement tbh was, “art has no intrinsic value” as if that was a revelation or central to the “scam”

anyway. no one is going to argue in good faith that the art world isn’t obtuse and the auction houses and sellers aren’t trying to maximize profits. but to say that the the art market “is a market composed of scams” without actually describing any isn’t exactly jaw dropping.

if you want to get worked up about the art world, you might try reading Bianca Bosker’s new book Get the Picture where she goes “undercover” in the world of art to understand how stuff moves, is priced, gets into galleries and museums, and the rest of it. She wrote Cork Dork a few years ago which was a similar story about the world of wine. She was interviewed about the new book on an ArtNet podcast, if you want a short listen instead.


Why, the tax evasion scheme was described pretty good imo.

IANA accountant, but someone donates a painting and uses the assessed value against their tax liability seems like a problem with the tax code, not art. now do real estate.

Many years back I became treasurer of the board of a non-profit. There’s a lot of backstory, but up until that point the organization was focused 100% on survival and run by well-meaning non-business people. Nobody knew anything, or knew what they didn’t know. Anyway, of the many surprises I encountered while digging through documents was that for years someone associated with the group, an art broker, had been facilitating art donations. Basically he would declare the value of the work being donated, send a letter to the non-profit saying “so-and-so is donating this art worth $100,000 to your organization” and get an acknowledgement. When I discovered this I was like “uh, where is all this art that we own?” Oh, the broker was storing it for us. We didn’t even have it! And then I found out that there was an agreement (can’t remember if it was written or unwritten) that we wouldn’t sell anything he donated to us for a certain period of time. Obviously this was all an incredibly shady tax fraud conspiracy, but I swear the people at the non-profit really did not understand what was happening. So I put a stop to that and we ended up taking possession of the art and selling it at auction.

So that’s something rich people do - buy art, “donate” it to non-profits at inflated valuations, take the write-off, and often not even part with the art!


Not saying it’s not a tax code problem, too, and obv. you can scam with real estate as well, but the value of real estate is a bit more well defined I would say. I mean that Salvator Mundi’s value went up by a factor of a million just because they found out who painted it.

I’m just saying before I saw that video I thought this spending millions on art thing was just another rich people’s hobby, by real enthusiasm or for bragging, while also being a long-term investment like gold or something. But I had no idea you could use it for tax evasion by donating art. It’s like the state is forced to buy art off of you for 40 cents on the dollar.

And in any case there is no problem with the art obv, just with the people dealing it.



Disclaimer: I know very little about art history, by no means have I evaluated an exhaustive list of fine art. I’m sure there exist plenty of art that I would like, had I gotten to learn about them. I just know what I like, for reasons as simple as why I like them. I think that’s what appreciating art is all about.

These are the prints I have in my place:

Monet is my favorite artist. I like this peaceful, pastoral scene, and how the poppies give a splash of color. I like Impressionism the most because everything is kinda blurry but still pretty.

I also have this:

Monet - Dusk in Venice. This was the painting in the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair movie. I just really like the bold, brilliant contrast of colors. Speaking of colors…


“Starry Night” is the most famous Van Gogh, but this, Cafe Terrace at Night, is my FAVORITE Van Gogh. I really like how the yellow light contrasts with the dark street.

Which leads us to my favorite print, the one I have in my room:


“Night Hawks” by Edward Hopper (1942). USA#1!

I’ve worked nights most of my adult life, between restaurants, DJing, poker of course, and then later, on nights in the hospital. As I learned working overnight, my favorite time of day is 3am - 6am. After the drunks pass out, and before the early birds. It’s so peaceful, you feel like the only person alive.

At different times in my life, I’ve identified with the different characters in this piece. Sometimes I’m the guy with the girl, sometimes I’m the guy by himself. Other times, I’m the guy that’s working.

I also love the way the yellow light contrasts with the big, yet empty city.

So that’s my contribution to this thread! If you like certain pieces of art, tell us why!




I was fortunate enough to see it in person when it came to NYC in the late 70s.