Salmon Debunks Artnet’s Silly Indices

Reuters’ hardheaded finance blogger Felix Salmon takes a critical look at “Artnet’s Silly Indices,” debunking the notion that contemporary art is an investable commodity, like stocks in the S&P 500, with remarkable clarity. Artnet’s indices track prices and investment performance for many major-name artists with nifty graphs based on auction results, but, according to Salmon, have little realtion to reality. Salmon argues that, though fantastic returns are possible, Artnet’s indices have a hidden bias towards successful artists’ most successful works, and that the returns the charts seem to show remain the province of canny conoisseurs with deep pockets, an do not demonstrate the broad-based solidity in the art market they imply.

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