Monday, December 7th, 2009

Money Actually Can Buy You The Sense To Enjoy Your Good Investment Taste

WTF REALLY?Goldman Sachs commissioned a Julie Mehretu and a Franz Ackermann for the new HQ, and apparently everyone is baffled by them. "It's loud and cartoonish, and as they walk in, employees can't help scowling at it," wrote Clusterstock of the Ackermann. And: "Nobody thinks this one is any good either," writes Clusterstock of the Mehretu, claiming they "wasted" money on it. You guys! Well, one, I dispute this idea that "everyone" at GS hates these, because finance people love blue chip status and these deliver. Obviously. Hardcore. Two, you might want to check on some recent sales of Mehretu and their, oh, massive insane valuation upticks before you claim that money "wasted"! Let's see: solid purchases that will age well and are a much safer place to put your money than the market? Oh yes, hello.

32 Comments / Post A Comment

mathnet (#27)

That piece reminds me a lot of a stock market crash.

That the Battle of Little Big Horn, with Custer, lower left, about to get his.

flossy (#1,402)

I would sooner ask Mehretu to explain what the fuck a collateralized debt obligation actually is than accept the aesthetic critique of your run-of-the-mill finance douchebag.

I'm actually more sympathetic to the wasted money argument. Those two are market darlings but $10 million is a pretty steep entry point, especially for work so large that only a select few other institutions or collectors could afford to acquire it if GS decides to flip these later on.

BoHan (#29)

Strongly seconded, especially because doing the exact opposite of what Clusterstockbsays will make you money. Also, since when is an art history degree gotten anyone a trader's job?

Since Jeff Koons, maybe.

Banks actually need to commision artwork? I've taught in BBVA, Spain's biggest bank, and have seen lots of art on the wall, the higher up the corporate ladder, the better the art. A student explained it: all that stuff is the result of liens on debt. A hell of a lot of people out there keep going a generation after the ancestor's cash is gone by quietly passing on art, silver, antiques, etc.

Mindpowered (#948)

You know, some Goya "Horrors of Finance" (1812 version) would be pretty appropriate.

Especially the Jake and Dinos Chapman take.

More importantly! Please, please, please, Financey-types: Sell these at Christies. Also, please change that other place's ticker from BID to SUK. Thanks!

johnnieutah (#2,241)

that Mehretu is AWESOME. And if it's confusing the bankers, then it's doing its job.

hockeymom (#143)

Is it about skiing? I'm saying it's about skiing.

myfanwy (#1,124)

I'm also getting a "used car lot" vibe.

I see vagina.

mordzook (#2,330)

It's obviously a clown car explosion.

iplaudius (#1,066)

I like it too.

ericdeamer (#945)

I'm moved by these shapes much like Aziz Ansari's character was on Parks & Recreation.

sigerson (#179)

homage to Cy Twombly?

KarenUhOh (#19)

Once I worked at a place where they thought they had all kinds of money, but they didn't really. Well, they did, but they spent it way too much too soon (not on me, though, no no no).

We moved to new offices that were in the "penthouse" of a building, even though the Sears Tower was right across the street. It was 110 floors high, and our penthouse was on the 16th floor. But you could go out there and sit on a chaise and wrench your neck staring up at the antennae on the Sears Tower, or you could jump into the street, if you wanted to do that instead.

The partners decided we needed Art. I had no idea what any of it was, but they said it was expensive and Really Really Vouched for by a Prominent River North Gallery. It cost "$$$$." I don't know what that equates to in 1985 dollars.

One painting was of a portion of the globe. At three points above the Earth there were arrows pointing into the firmament, and above each arrow was the word "Girls." So, see: "Girls Girls Girls."

They put it next to the men's room. I have a picture of our Senior Partner in there, at one holiday party, dressed as an angel, and taking a pee. He was preparing to give out the staff bonuses. These were cheap and clearly not even near Girls Girls Girls in 1985 dollars.

We went bankrupt shortly after the Sr. Partner's wife set his Mercedes on fire when she found him in the men's room getting blown by the receptionist.

hockeymom (#143)

Wow. That sounds like GREAT holiday party!

Bittersweet (#765)

Karen, this is awesome. It needs to be a book. Or at least a decent-length short story.

mathnet (#27)

This story makes me want to watch Adventures in Babysitting.

Actually? This is an accurate visual representation of Lehman's view of the subprime market circa 2008.

HiredGoons (#603)

I actually really love this piece – there are a lot of elements that look like events or structures, but when you really look at them, they don't quite look like what you thought they did. It's like being in Rome, exploding, in a dream.

myfanwy (#1,124)

Also! I like how, in the article, the Mehretu not having a name is a HUGE BLACK MARK against the piece. IF ONLY IT HAD A NAME.

gregorg (#30)

Sorry, can we have a price check on aisles 1 and 2? Not that I'd do it, of course, but I can imagine GS paying $10 million for a Peter Doig mural, but not Franz Ackerman.

If that's the real price, it has to include a pile of other construction and fabrication and lobby finishing costs as well, or Goldman got snookered.

Ditto a $5 mm Mehretu.

I expect they paid far less, and got a nice discount for the firm and any MDs and partners who wanted some work for themselves.

flossy (#1,402)

You're right. Those pieces are massive but even so, I'd be shocked if installation ran half a mil for the both.

Mehretu and Ackermann both show at White Cube in London. Methinks Jay Jopling made a bunch of friends at Goldman Sachs and these are a down payment on a much more extensive… understanding. And it's fun because now he can mark up all their other work and Goldman Sachs can inflate the value of its own investment with this little PR stunt. Everybody wins! Unregulated markets, an i-banker's wet dream. Barf.

And to the Goldman people complaining about this? Fuck you! Or at the very least shut the fuck up, stop advertising your bad taste and entitlement to Business Insider, and take secret evil pleasure in the knowledge that the people who actually like this stuff will never have enough money to play this little game.

Peteykins (#1,916)

That painting looks like Marcel Duchamp's "Tu M'" amped way up on steroids.

cinetrix (#47)

This looks like what would have happened if Wesley Willis had emulated Kandinsky. Whatever. Clicking through gave me an ad for Yayoi Kusama's I love ME. Ergo, BEST POST EVAR.

lempha (#581)

No yeah, I'm sure they all HATE it, being the kind of quality stuff TBI usually churns out.

lempha (#581)


smartastic (#2,437)

i think this is gorgeous.

Sakurambobomb (#1,722)

There is large piece by the same artist at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and, in person, the work is incredibly moving. It gives a sense of agoraphobia – wide open spaces, monumental space, echoes, long distances, but also of celebration, possible victory, anticipation and of great potential. Your eye is drawn around and around and it invites you to spend quite a long time experiencing it.

Cormac Graham (#3,616)

yeah thats a different painting than the one in the GS lobby… the one GS has is way to large to have a photo taken of it that would have enough detail to do it justice. and if you are judging the painting from viewing from the street, you aren't seeing any of the subtleties. to truly view this painting you need to get up close. oh, and good parks and recreation reference.

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