Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art


Product Details

Publish Date
6.2 X 1.6 X 9.3 inches | 1.5 pounds

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About the Author

Michael Shnayerson is a long-time contributing editor to Vanity Fair and the author of eight books on a range of nonfiction subjects, from biographies of entertainer Harry Belafonte (My Song) and New York governor Andrew Cuomo (The Contender) to narrative-driven accounts of drug-resistant bacteria (The Killer Within) and mountaintop coal removal (Coal River). Shnayerson is married to Gayfryd Steinberg, and lives in Sag Harbor and Manhattan.


"The narrative is packed with scrumptious anecdotes and revealing portraits of key players and artists... In this rich, superbly nuanced history, Shnayerson fully demonstrates that he has his finger on the financial pulse of modern art."--Kirkus, Starred Review
"Focusing on personalities as much as business development, Shnayerson's writing is conversational and accessible, even for those without deep art knowledge. Fast-paced and eye-opening, this is a wildly entertaining business history."--Publishers Weekly
"In Boom, Michael Shnayerson masterfully traces the blaze-like contemporary art market back to what now seem like unassuming origins. He tells how, somewhere along the way, dealers persuaded the rest of the art world that what they were looking at was not as important as why they were looking at it. And the why, as it turns out, was money."--Graydon Carter, former editor of Vanity Fair and founder of Air Mail newsletter
"How did the art world-the rarefied, decorous realm of a few hundred in the 1960s-become the art market? Michael Shnayerson penetrates the mysterious conclave of taste, style and money in this sparkling, high-octane account. It's all here and beautifully bound together, from Lucien Freud's gambling debts to the AIDS epidemic to private museums to the magical question of whether the artist makes the dealer or the dealer the artist."--Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra: A Life and The Witches: Salem, 1692
"The high end of the contemporary art market is driven by branding, backstories, mega dealers, art fairs, art investment funds, and occasionally, a hugely talented artist. Most important, it is driven by people. Michael Shnayerson has done the best job I know in pulling all these together. Think of the book as a 400-page Vanity Fair article (where he is a longtime contributing editor). I offer that comparison as a compliment to its style and depth of detail.

He has captured profiles of the mega-dealers: Gagosian, Zwirner, Wirth, and the Glimchers; the billionaire collectors; and the lawsuits, with background and astute observations. My own books on the contemporary art market would have been much improved this had come earlier. A great read."--Don Thompson is the author of The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art, and The Orange Balloon Dog: Bubbles, Turmoil and Avarice in the Contemporary Art Market
"Part Painted Bird, part Off the Wall, and part Duveen, Michael Shnayerson's Boom deftly captures the extraordinary dynamics at work in the contemporary art market by focusing on the global mega dealers and their constantly evolving stable of artists, many of whom together have become fabulously rich beyond their wildest dreams. In Shnayerson's confident hands, the story of their successes is riveting, informative, and often hard to fathom."--William Cohan, author of House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street
"The book is a pleasure to read, lively, smart, and wonderfully informative, full of the big personalities, genius, passion, and skullduggery of the contemporary art world."--Roxana Robinson author of Georgia O'Keeffe: A Life
"Boom reflects better than anything I have read the characters, the motives, and the overall vibe of the contemporary art world."--Daniel Weiss, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art