Artistic Yearnings

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Art News Online provides a window into the world of the super-rich who collect art in this article detailing "The Ten Most Wanted Works of Art" (number one is Brancusi's "Bird in Space") and the buying habits of gazillionaires.

Are the rich different than you and me? Ask the guy with the really expensive dildo hanging in his private bathroom:

It took Michigan collector Gilbert Silverman more than a decade to track down a work that he first saw hanging from the ceiling at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York a dozen or so years ago.

?I thought, ?Boy, that would be a neat thing to get,?? recalls Silverman. When a dealer recently called Silverman to tell him she had found the unique work he?d been looking for, Silverman replied, ?Well, that?s half the battle.?

Silverman still had to convince his wife to allow him to acquire the work: a bronze double dildo by Lynda Benglis. (He won?t say what he paid for it.) ?Initially she said ?Forget it.? She didn?t want it hanging in the office,? says Silverman. ?But we have separate bathrooms. And she said I could hang it in mine.?

[Thanks to Arts & Letters Daily]

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  1. i don’t see any harm in buying a decorative dildo either. there’s really not that much harm in going to churches (that people wouldn’t have done to themselves, at any rate) or getting worked up over sporting events they’re not actively participating in. all of these activities are weird in the extreme, to an outsider.

    i mean, i like playing football or basketball and i like my penis, and i like dressing my wife up as a nun, but taking any of these things too seriously results in fanatical monomania and being forced to hide works of art in your private bathroom.

  2. A too fond attachment to a class of objects is primitive and vulgar.. an indicator of ingenuous stupidity.

    And not everyone collects things: I don’t, and never have.

  3. I wanted to make some witty/sarcastic/lame-stab-at-humor comment here, but the fact that there is a man who wants to hang a double dildo in his bathroom pretty much speaks for itself.

  4. no weirder than rooting for sports teams or going to church, though.

  5. It would have been cheaper for him if he just came out of the closet.

  6. I’ve seen some very nice works of art for a couple hundred dollars. My conclusion – anyone who spends more than a couple hundred dollars on a work of art must have made a conscious decision to waste money.

  7. Just about anything that costs more than a few hundred dollars is, in the grand scheme of things, a waste of money. It’s easy enough to mock his taste in art, but is it any worse than some people’s taste in cars, houses, or sports teams?

  8. N: But then, wouldn’t the fact that you make a concious effort NOT to collect anything be, in fact, a sort of (anti)collection? Heh-heh-heh.

  9. I dunno, Mike, but hanging a double dildo in your bathroom seems a world apart from buying a double-wide or rooting for the Dolphins.

    And I don’t see any harm in just going to church, dhex, even if I choose not to. Leaving Oral Roberts a “love offering” of half a mil in my will, on the other hand, is cause for psychiatric care.

  10. Are the rich different? I sense a desire by these collectors to possess something unique and exclusive. They seem to seek a satisfaction that zillions of dollars hasn’t fully provided. They want to be special, just like most people.

    My opinion of what anyone collects doesn’t strike me as relevant. Whether it is phallic sculpture or refrigerator magnets, we all seem to like to collect something.

    The dildo does make a good teaser, though…

  11. I was thinking more along the lines of *owning* the Dolphins. Being a fan is cheap. The point is, rich people spend their money on stupid things, just like everyone else. I just wish more of them were kind enough to keep their double-dildos hidden in their bathrooms like Silverman.

  12. Is it really a dildo if it doesn’t get used as one? Maybe it’s really a big clothes pin or a railroad tie.

  13. Just to be pedantic, “Bird in Space” isn’t necessarily #1 on the list. Given that they’re in alphabetical order and unnumbered, I’d guess they’re treated as 10 equals.

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