• The $12 Million Stuffed Shark

  • The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art
  • By: Don Thompson
  • Narrated by: Adam Verner
  • Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (167 ratings)

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The $12 Million Stuffed Shark  By  cover art

The $12 Million Stuffed Shark

By: Don Thompson
Narrated by: Adam Verner
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Publisher's Summary

Why would a smart New York investment banker pay $12 million for the decaying, stuffed carcass of a shark? By what alchemy does Jackson Pollock's drip painting "No. 5, 1948" sell for $140 million?

Intriguing and entertaining, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark is a Freakonomics approach to the economics and psychology of the contemporary art world. Why were record prices achieved at auction for works by 131 contemporary artists in 2006 alone, with astonishing new heights reached in 2007? Don Thompson explores the money, lust, and self-aggrandizement of the art world in an attempt to determine what makes a particular work valuable while others are ignored.

This book is the first to look at the economics and the marketing strategies that enable the modern art market to generate such astronomical prices. Drawing on interviews with both past and present executives of auction houses and art dealerships, artists, and the buyers who move the market, Thompson launches the listener on a journey of discovery through the peculiar world of modern art. Surprising, passionate, gossipy, and revelatory, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark reveals a great deal that even experienced auction purchasers do not know.

©2008 Don Thompson (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"[An] informative an occasionally hilarious look at the surreal contemporary art market...A clear-headed approach to a frequently high-pitched issue." ( Kirkus)

What listeners say about The $12 Million Stuffed Shark

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Repetitive & Dry

Could use a good editor. Author manages to turn potentially fascinating information into a slog through dull chapters. Narration fine but could not save the book.

3 people found this helpful

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a fun look at art pricing

Lots of fun stories about art pricing, according to the book it's built off anecdotes but it's all very entertaining

1 person found this helpful

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Dry but helpful

If you’re looking for a riveting tale of art world personalities, you won’t find it here. However, I found this book immensely helpful. It felt more like a textbook than anything, but it taught me a lot. Very helpful for learning more about economics and contemporary art. Highly recommended to anyone looking to work in the art world.

1 person found this helpful

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A fun educational listen

This book is great, a little dated but the facts are still true and the insights offered are invaluable. If you've ever been interested in contemporary art, art auctions, or the ridiculous prices paid for art this is the book for you!
and whats great is that there is no prior knowledge required, the author lays it all out in a very accessible way! I highly recommend this book

1 person found this helpful