Kenny Schachter

Kenny Schachter's Fact & Fiction

On How Art Dealing Has Become Joyless, Boring, and Mean-Spirited

05/28/2015 - 10:22

In order to fund my writing, teaching and amateur art making habits, I am part of a peculiar breed of dealer-to-dealer dealers and we are an idiosyncratic bunch at that. What that actually entails is the buying and selling of art to other like-minded traders thereby avoiding the time-consuming and hapless job of selling to end users, i.e., collectors—whatever that term has come to signify. I relate the capriciousness of some to a punter who walks into a supermarket, bargains down the price of a quart of milk, doesn't pay for eight months then proceeds to return it because it went rancid. Or the market dropped or the couch changed. That should make me some more friends.

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Kenny Schachter

New York Auctions Diary

Big-Game Hunters, Flipping In-N-Outers, and Passionistas

05/19/2015 - 14:17

The megalith known as today’s art market has more personalities than noted 1970s schizophrenic Sybil. A recap of the hyped-up, rocket-fueled auction sales this past week might be better served in the form of an animated cartoon, but here is my attempt.

The trip didn't get off to an auspicious start upon my arrival from London — I passed a prone man with police kneeling on his chest bang in the middle of 6th Avenue, while he screamed at his accuser, “When I get out of jail I will have you killed.”

What a welcoming that might serve to reflect an art world characterized by the big guns — mega-galleries and auction houses — tightening the reins on increasingly disenfranchised, mid-level artists and dealers.

The auctions are like elections held in monster circus tents, where one and all anxiously await the results of the Lib Dems and Tories (Labour didn’t rate a mention after performing so badly earlier this month in the U.K.). Objects are mercilessly traded and re-traded in a dizzying, tail-chasing cycle for ever-increasing profits. Can it or will it persist?

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Kenny Schachter

Polke Dance: In New York (Part 2)

04/30/2015 - 15:05

On my second day in New York the snow was so heavy that I feared I would be forced to spend a terrifying night at the museum with “Surround Audience,” the New Museum’s just-opened triennial. Forget Ben Stiller and dinosaurs, I would be trapped with a bunch of insouciant kids under the influence of way too much screen time.

I found myself at the New Museum because my collector pals hated the Armory Show so much that they were ready to trash their VIP passes. I offered to take these off their hands, remembering that the passes get you into New York’s museums for free.

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