It’s the biggest amount of money paid for a modern artist in the history of auctions. Some hotheads went as far as saying that Bacon was ‘one of the most influential artists of the last century’, even though you would have struggled to get a decent price for his works only 20 years ago. But hey, it’s only money, as pissed Russian oligarchs say when they burn 500 euro notes for fun. And besides, who would have paid any money for the likes of Hurst or Emin 20 years ago? Yet look how they sell these days. It’s progress, innit, as some art critics say these days?
The previous record for the amount paid for a modern artist sold at an auction stood at $119.9 million for Edvard Munch’s Scream, another acquired taste ‘masterpiece’ that should have been firmly kept in the ten grand price area. The previous record was achieved last year and it was clear then that the heights of stupidity of the new rich would rise. And they did. And it’s only a matter of time when another ‘self-made billionaire’ would blow a fortune on some undeserving canvass or sculpture, or pile of garbage or even tastefully packaged excrement presented as ‘art’, while hacks and art critics would be going crazy about it. (If anyone doubted that the end of the world was coming, well, here’s some more proof that it’s on its way.)
Now, if we assume that most of new rich have no sense of style or class and have no understanding of the value of money earned by actual work, we can expect sales of so-called ‘art’ to keep going through the roof on all levels, not just at auctions. You need to take a quick glance at the faces of these self-made billionaires to know where they’re coming from. And every time they open a second or third bottle of wine costing 50 grand or more, at lunch or dinner, the last thing on their minds is that money could be better spent.
The thing about the super-rich is that they can’t figure out why is it that their vast fortunes don’t really make them happy. And the answer is simple: incredible wealth gives a buzz only when it’s shared with others who are less fortunate. Then it works. But the new rich morons are too stupid to figure this out. So they blow their hard-earned cash on stupid things, mostly out of boredom. And the vicious cycle never ends.