The folks at Clusterstock have been covering an interesting twist on the whole art and finance connection. Though hedgies continue to be the mythical beast that drives the Contemporary art market, it would seem that the well-rewarded employees of Goldman Sachs are finnicky about their art. They also seem a little unrealistic about its value.
There are two different works at issue. One is a Franz Ackermann mural that’s upsetting employees; the other is a Julie Mehretu painting. Here’s what Clusterstock says about the mural:
Nobody is happy with the $10 million mural Goldman has painted on the wall of their new lobby. Goldman employees recently moved into their new building on 200 West Street in Battery Park and apparently all anyone who walks in can talk about is how much they dislike the mural. It spans the entire back wall of the large lobby and spills onto a side wall where it’s in front of employees as they scan their ID cards. It’s inescapable until they reach the elevators.
The mural is exceptionally large but that price seems somewhat inflated considering Ackermann’s highest auction price is $500,000 for a work that is nearly 10-ft. wide. Yes, artworks can be values by size but the price ought not to scale at a consistent rate.
The second work, by Mehretu. Her highest auction price was set in June of this year in London for a smidge below $400,000.
Turns out Goldman Sachs wasted another $5 million on this painting, on display in their other entrance and visible from the street. Nobody thinks this one is any good either. […] Julie Mehretu’s piece is meant to show the history of global trade capital and commerce, but she has not yet decided what to call it.
To be fair, auction prices are never a consistent gauge of dealer prices. Are Goldman employees over-estimating the value of their firms art out of outrage or pride. It’s hard to tell.
Update: According to Calvin Tomkins’s March, 2010 story about the Goldman mural, it did indeed cost $5m. Fabrication costs consumed $4m of the commission. Still, that’s a big number.
More Bad News About Goldman’s New Art (Clusterstock)