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The Art Market is Less Ethical than the Stock Market

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Though the 2008 recession sparked widespread belief that the stock market was corrupt. Is the art market any better? Practices like chandelier bidding, price inflation and secret sourcing of art pieces call into question the legitimacy of art sales and values. But art market defenders posit that art, unlike other commodities, is valued based on appreciation and, because no two works of art are identical, cannot be regulated using traditional measures. 

The Debaters

For the motion

Richard Feigen

Founder of Richard L. Feigen & Co. art dealers, Art Collector and Author

Richard is an active collector of early Italian and Baroque paintings, English landscapes, surrealists, Max Beckmann and contemporary art. He founded... Read More

Michael Hue-Williams

Owner and CEO of Albion Gallery

Micheal is owner and CEO of Albion Gallery. Albion is the only gallery in London to incorporate a major global program that represents leading international... Read More

Adam Lindemann

Investor, Entrepreneur, Art Collector and Author

Adam is an investor and entrepreneur with a background in industries from energy and communications to real estate and asset management. He has re-launched... Read More

Against the motion

Amy Cappellazzo

International Co-Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art and Deputy Chairman at Christie's

Amy was appointed deputy chairman at Christie's in January of 2008 and has been the international co-head of Post-War and Contemporary Art since 2001... Read More

Chuck Close


Chuck's work has been the subject of more than 150 solo exhibitions including many major museum retrospectives, and he has participated in almost... Read More

Jerry Saltz

Senior Art Critic for New York magazine

Saltz is a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. He has lectured at Harvard, The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American... Read More

Where Do You Stand?

For The Motion
  • The common practice of chandelier bidding, in which an auctioneer introduces bids on behalf of the seller until a desired price is met, manipulates buyers and artificially inflates the art market.
  • Though works of art have become serious financial assets, the government treats art as a luxury market that does not require the oversight and regulation mandated in other major markets.
  • Unlike securities, there are no two works of art that are identical, in the same condition or endowed with the same credentials; the only source of price comparison is auction data bases, which are flawed.
Against The Motion
  • The art market is rightly valued based on public appreciation of the art; the government does not have a place in assigning financial value to specific works.
  • If someone were to lose money in the stock market, they wouldn’t hang their stocks on the wall; the art market is based on more than an economic exchange and thus shouldn’t be held to the same expectations.
  • Unlike other commodities that can be valued in comparison to similar goods, the value of art is subject to historic, emotional and intellectual context.

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The Research

The Research

Investing in Art

Godfrey Barker December 16
March 1, 2016

The Art Market: The Fine Art of Surviving the Crash in Auction Prices

Alexandra Peers November 20
March 1, 2016

Art Values or Money Values?

Donald Kuspit March 6
March 1, 2016
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