Thursday, May 06, 2010

A Little of the Old In And Out

(image via dubaichronicle)

In: Emerging Wealth and the Art Market. Asian buyers, Bloomberg tells us, won four of the top ten lots last night at the Sotheby's Impressionist sale in New York. There is a distinct Spenglerian vibe going on around the world. As Tobias Meyer, the head of contemporary art and auctioneer at Sotheby's, predicted two years ago: The New Art Market Is No Longer Limited To The Wealth Parameters Of The West. "In New York, people associate prices of Art with real estate prices," Meyer told Fantastic Man. "The price point for a great work of Art is probably 60, 70 million dollars because that's the price of the greatest Park Avenue apartment -- say a duplex at 740 Park Avenue. The new buyers are not restricted by any association with any other wealth. They think in their own parameters, which are not the parameters of The West any more." From Bloomberg:

Asian buyers won four of the top ten lots last night in New York, as Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art tally tripled to $195.7 million from a year ago.

The evening’s highest price, $28.6 million, was for a floral 1919 Matisse, Bouquet de fleurs pour le Quatorze Juillet. A day earlier, rival auction house Christie’s International took a record $106.5 million for a Picasso in an Impressionist and modern sale that totaled $335.5 million.

.... Asians bought four of the ten priciest lots, said Simon Shaw, head of Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art in New York.

'Historically art follows the money and the money is in emerging wealth,' said Suzanne Gyorgy, Senior Vice President of Citigroup Art Advisory Service, referring to collectors from Russia, China and the Middle East. 'These paintings follow the wealth.'

As Economic power moves eastward -- accelerated, no doubt, by European decline -- Art, ever anticipating reality, adjusts itself accordingly. Americans and Europeans no longer determine, as they used to, what happens in the market. For those of us who follow the art world -- which truly is becoming subsumed into the global village -- it makes for an interesting and unpredictable new era.

Out: Schumer's Lust. I think we can all agree at this point that everything United States Senator Chuck Schumer does from now until Election day is to show the Democratic Conference that in the event that Harry Reid loses his Senate seat he would be a better choice for Majority leader than Dick Durbin. “I think he’s the future majority leader,” Representative Eliot Engel of New York told The Observer in response to a general question about Mr. Schumer’s influence. “I do.”

Now, we all know Chuck -- or, at least, "The Chuck Type": valedictorian, hyper ambitious, hugely attracted to power, Las School, the glad hander, ever-upwardly-mobile, restless and, quite frankly, abrasive. But he, like Tina Fey's bitches, gets shit done. That's why New Yorker's keep electing an asshole like Chuck.

There was never a chance that Chuck -- the Democrat Party Conference Vice Chairman -- could be content remaining in that role, particularly now that the Democrats hold the House and Senate (in no small part, we cannot fail to mention, because of him). In a theoretical Schumer versus Durbin death-match, according to CQPolitics:

“Who sells better to independent or swing voters?” the Democratic operative continued. “A brash New Yorker or a reserved Midwesterner? I think Durbin presents a better image.”

But another Democratic strategist countered that Schumer has more chits to call in, having had a direct hand in electing about one-quarter of the Democratic Conference. This strategist said Schumer is likely to be perceived as the best choice in the wake of an electoral catastrophe this fall, particularly given that the 2012 Senate election map heavily favors Republicans.

“You’ve got a lot of members of the Senate that feel they owe their election and majority to Schumer. At the same time, if they feel like they took a drubbing in 2010, do they want a wartime majority leader?” the Democratic strategist said. “Schumer is considered more of a political battler.”

So -- why is Senator Schumer "out" on The Corsair's In-and-Out list? Lately, Chuck has taken some eccentric positions, clearly meant to signal to the Democratic Conference that he could be a strong Majority Leader, but positions at odds with the White House. He's broken with the President, publicly, on Israel. Then, yesterday, there was word that Schumer -- who represents the most immigrant-friendly state in the country -- had flip-flopped in supporting Joe Lieberman's plan to strip citizenship from suspected terrorists (he has since changed his mind). This is conduct unbecoming of a Senator, but in line with the thinking of a Machiavel. But Schumer is not above this sort of thing. In 2006, in the thick of the midterms, he allied himself -- sleazily -- with conservative talk radio freaks to kill the Dubai Ports World deal. Schumer is always willing to compromise just enough to advance his personal interests.

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