Wall Street Meets the Art Market

New developments concerning two of my previous posts demonstrate how financial strategies (the same kinds we lament Wall Street has been using) are being implemented in the art world. The works of Michael Jackson and Annie Leibovitz—two artists known for their own financial extravagance—are currently hostage to the smoke-and-mirrors world of financial speculation. Is nothing sacred?

As I explained earlier, Michael Jackson’s estate managers are busy marketing his legend. As is the case with many artists, much to their spirits’ chagrin, the monetary value of their work goes skyward after their death. Jackson is no exception. A portrait of the King of Pop by Andy Warhol, which sold last May for $278,500, was just auctioned off for over $1million. Hoowee! A million bucks! The buyer must have been a diehard Jackson fan, right? Well…we don’t know, not exactly, but it doesn’t really sound like it. The portrait was purchased by an art speculator who plans to sell it back to the gallery on consignment, i.e. when the gallery sells it to another buyer for more than $1 million, the anonymous speculator will take his cut.

Also recall that Annie Leibovitz is being sued by an artist-“friendly” financial group, Art Capital. The Atlantic has a list of columnists—some sympathetic, others pickle puss—who have commentated on her financial troubles. What the Atlantic failed to report, however, is that Goldman Sachs has come forward as one of the owners of Leibovitz’s disputed $24 million loan. Allegedly lacking the capital to actually make the loan, Art Capital sold part of it ahead of time to Sachs in order to generate the cash then given to Leibovitz. Will this debt prove more secure for Goldman Sachs than its AIG “collateral”?

My thought is that the Vatican should really get in on this action. Think of all the useless Christian artifacts it has lying around not generating any income! On second thought, the Second Coming would decrease the value of those works by making them less rare, so it could turn out to be a bad investment.

How to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable? Build global partnerships.

Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.

Susan Silbermann, Global President of Pfizer Vaccines, looks on as a health care worker administers a vaccine in Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
  • Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
  • Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
Keep reading Show less

Who believes fake news? Study identifies 3 groups of people

Then again, maybe the study is fake news too.

Surprising Science
  • Recent research challenged study participants to pick real news headlines from fake ones.
  • The results showed that people prone to delusional thinking, religious fundamentalists, and dogmatists tended to believe all news, regardless of plausibility.
  • What can you do to protect yourself and others from fake news?
Keep reading Show less

A new study says alcohol changes how the brain creates memories

A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.

Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
  • This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
  • The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
Keep reading Show less

4 reasons why Apple, Facebook and other tech stocks are plunging

The so-called FAANG companies have lost more than $700 billion in market value since October.

(Photo credit should read BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The shares of major tech companies were performing exceptionally well earlier this year, but those gains got nearly erased on Monday.
  • Overvaluation, the U.S.-China trade war and recent privacy concerns surrounding tech companies are among the reasons for the drops.
  • Apple and Facebook have been hit the hardest in recent weeks, thanks in part to a few major reports from news outlets.
Keep reading Show less