What Tech’s Unicorn Cult Can Learn from the Art World

The art world knows about prices floating ever higher on abstraction and hope. The resonances aren’t completely coincidental. Both venture capitalists and art buyers are in the business of valuing the invaluable. Both stake their reputations on exquisite selection. Both nurture talent before it can support itself. Both have a soft spot for youth, for unbowed ego, for the myth of solitary genius, for the next new thing. Both operate in a world of frustratingly limited information and maddeningly unpredictable success. Both depend on consumer culture while holding themselves superior to it. And both the art market and venture investing have become increasingly winner-take-all games, with more clout to the companies and artists backed by the most powerful dealers or venture capitalists.

Credit : Harold Cunningham

→ The New Yorker

 

Experience: I own the world’s ugliest dog

A lovely story :

I wish I’d known her as a puppy. I picture her small enough to hold in your hand, and she’s with her brothers and sisters; they’re all normal little dogs and then there’s this tiny hunchback. Working at the shelter, I could adopt all the beautiful purebreds if I wanted to; but Quasi shows that you don’t need to be the most perfect-looking animal to be a loving pet. She gets on with all our other animals and cuddles up to one of our cats who likes sleeping with her.

I don’t feel sorry for her. She teaches people tolerance, especially those who initially stare, because they think she’s ugly or they’re afraid; she always wins them over. She’s taught me not to dwell on what’s wrong in life. She’s not self-conscious. She doesn’t look in the mirror and go, “Oh, poor me.” She’s the epitome of happiness.

→ The Guardian

The Secret History of One Hundred Years of Solitude

Stuck up on the wall were charts of the history of a Caribbean town he called Macondo and the genealogy of the family he named the Buendías. Outside, it was the 1960s; inside, it was the deep time of the pre-modern Americas, and the author at his typewriter was all-powerful.

He visited a plague of insomnia upon the people of Macondo; he made a priest levitate, powered by hot chocolate; he sent down a swarm of yellow butterflies. He led his people on the long march through civil war and colonialism and banana-republicanism; he trailed them into their bedrooms and witnessed sexual adventures obscene and incestuous. “In my dreams, I was inventing literature,” he recalled. Month by month the typescript grew, presaging the weight that the great novel and the “solitude of fame,” as he would later put it, would inflict on him.

→ Vanity Fair

Terrence Malick’s “Knight of Cups” Challenges Hollywood to Do Better

It reminds me of Claude Lelouch :

For Malick, the cinema is also a matter of the unconscious, of indeterminacy, of tension between decision and accident. Most of the movie’s images are done with a handheld camera, and most of them involve so much motion, on the part of the actors and the camera alike, that they would defy, in the rapidity of their complexity, any attempt to calibrate them in advance to the exact framing and composition. Malick creates the circumstances under which Lubezki can make these images; Lubezki, untethered to storyboards, roaming freely around and past the action, collects images that embody Malick’s ideas and emotions without being overdetermined by his intentions.

The Knight of Cups is a good movie, but unfortunately not a great one.

→ The New Yorker

The Art of Larry Gagosian’s Empire

Larry, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1985)

One of Gagosian’s particular talents is conjuring complex, chesslike transactions that offer elements more enticing than cash. “He’s like a block trader,” says collector and Blackstone chairman, CEO and co-founder Stephen Schwarzman, referring to the financial practice of making high-risk, fast-moving private deals on large quantities of shares. “He’s in the matching business.” When Schwarzman, for example, was seeking a rare Twombly “blackboard” painting for his apartment, “Larry found someone in Korea who owned a painting and found another painting that was larger and more important,” Schwarzman says. “So they sold their painting and bought another from Larry. That’s a classic Larry Gagosian execution—where everyone’s happy and Larry makes tons of money.”

→ WSJ Magazine

The Warhol of Wall Street


We’re Not in Kansas Anymore is about the 2008 financial crisis that kicked off with the implosion of investment bank Lehman Brothers (for the record, Mr. Saiers thinks the government should have bailed them out). Braille-like lettering symbolizes the systemic blindness that created the crisis, he says—blindness of regulators to the realities of modern finance, blindness of ratings agencies to the real risks of pooled mortgage-backed securities—while circles and squares represent the problem of predicting how financial markets will behave. They reference the classic problem known as “squaring the circle,” which is the idea that you could make a square with the same area as a given circle. It is impossible, but you can get very close, Mr. Saiers explained—just as it’s impossible to anticipate financial markets, though you can make very smart guesses.

→ Observer