Is the Art Market More Corrupt Than Wall Street?

Chuck Close: What I thought was interesting about the dilemma about trying to explain to people that this is a wonderful field driven by people who are generous and care about what they do and there are dealers who believe fervently in the work of the artists that they represent.

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If the bottom dropped out of the market and the artist was not going to sell anything, he or she will keep working, and the dealer will keep trying to find some way to convince somebody to buy this stuff.

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You don’t see people who roared through huge amounts of money at Bear Sterns offering to go back and work at Bear Sterns for free, for the next couple of years, to get the firm back on it’s feet again. They’re not going to show up and go to work unless they’re being paid.

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And how anybody could think that people in the stock market have more integrity than people in the art world, especially at a time like this with these charlatans, or these shysters and these thieves and liars, the people who have committed themselves all of their lives, and all have given up so much to do it, sacrificed so much to do it. Women who have decided not to have children because they don’t think they can really do both. Well, that’s one of the most major sacrifices someone could make. I only have so much time and energy and money and I’m going to put it into my work. Or someone else who is willing to make a vow of poverty to keep working.

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How they can be compared to the Bernie Madoffs in the world and be found wanting, and for them to be the ones without integrity is beyond me.

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Recorded on: February 5, 2009

Chuck Close says comparing art dealers to Wall Street crooks is unfair.

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