Stefan Simchowitz has gotten himself into the center of another art market story but Dan Duray’s profile is more than just a good read—though it is that too (“He has a head by Brancusi and a body by Botero. He dresses eclectically, t-shirts and sweatshirts that don’t look expensive even though they are…”)
There’s a lot of good detail on the new Contemporary Art ecosystem:
What riles the art world about Mr. Simchowitz is his flipping—an art world term that means quickly selling a work for profit, but Mr. Simchowitz doesn’t see it that way. When Adam Lindemann sells a Jeff Koons for a profit of $20 million after owning it for one year, as he reportedly did in 2007, that’s flipping. Mr. Simchowitz sits on his collection until the artists are popular, then profits on quantity. Last year, he said he did $20 million in sales, but that figure was spread out over, he said, some 1,000 transactions. The margins are low, and he reinvests everything in his business.
“I had lunch with my father yesterday, and my father always shouts at me, because I’m always short on money, I can’t pay my taxes,” Mr. Simchowitz said. “He said, ‘Jerry calls you a flipper! I wish you were a flipper! I wish you were selling more art!’” […]
He sees his buying as almost paternal. He pays younger artists when no one else will, and he and his associates have many stories about the artists he has helped out of squalor. Christian Rosa, for example, needed not only a studio but also a dentist and a lawyer. Mr. Simchowitz helped him on all three counts. When Mr. Simchowitz met Parker Ito (whose work sold at a February auction in London for $93,594 over a high estimate of $25,000), he had a day job painting oil derricks near LAX, Los Angeles County still a surprising source of untapped crude. […]
Smaller galleries in formerly minor European cities like Frankfurt and Brussels now host shows to all the soon-to-be superstars, rather than someone obscure, and these tend to sell to all the usual suspects, rather than local collectors. The international buying mass must have the new lottery ticket pieces, must have them now. The new system has in fact led to many people doing what Mr. Simchowitz does.
Stefan Simchowitz vs. the Art World (Gallerist)