COLLECTING
Thomaï Serdari on Fine Arts & Luxury
Monkey stealing a banana. Articulated monkey pendant is encrusted with pavé Champagne diamonds and is carrying a Yellow Sapphire Banana. Courtesy of Marc Alary.

  Pluralism of styles does not warrant innovation. In present-day fashion, product, and jewelry design we mostly see repetition: revivals made contemporary with minor updates in cut, color, and size. Jewelry, by definition a means to personalizing an outfit, suffers from a similar malaise. The field lacks creativity and compensates for it with great numbers […]

Wim Delvoye. Dual Möbius Quad Corpus. Courtesy of Sperone Westwater.

Scholarship on contemporary art has become boring—self-important, deeply esoteric, with ideas built on circular arguments. That should not come as a surprise. Art criticism is hollow because there is no “Big Bang” in art either. Except occasionally, of course. As is the case with the work of Wim Delvoye, currently at Sperone Westwater and on […]

David Hockney. The Jugglers, June 24th, 2012. Courtesy of The Whitney Museum of American Art.

David Hockney (1937- ), the English painter, printmaker, photographer and stage designer, owes his notoriety to the resistance with which the public accepts new forms of art. A myopic reception of art and consequently its categorization in styles and media have persisted for more than three centuries. Hockney seems to defy them all. An audacious […]

Lara Knutson. Soft Glass, 2010. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Historians organize our experiences in neatly defined historic movements. Romanticism, the intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, found expression in artistic and literary works that deeply impacted the Western world until about 1850. Romantic works stemmed from heightened emotions and man’s aesthetic experience in the world. In turn, […]

Tiffany & Co. Vintage Minaudière. Courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

For the last ten years, auction houses have been steadily increasing their presence in the field of vintage fashion and accessories. Increased consumption of luxury goods has paralleled the ups and downs of the market and, as a result, it has generated an entire new category of product placement at auctions. While the major auction […]

Shoe by NoritakaTatehana

Contrary to other accessories, such as hats or bags, women’s shoes exhibit a great degree of mechanical malfunction. This stems from the shoes’ impossible structures, contorted shapes, and dizzying heights, all of which render them unfit for everyday use. That’s not necessarily bad. Certain models of luxury watches are known for unprecise time keeping. Luxury […]

Bulgari, Serpent Tuboga, 1975. Courtesy of Bulgari.

The problem with good art is that it makes bad art look worse. Good design makes bad design implode by lack of ideas. Great execution brings out the clumsiness in everything else. Contemporary Bulgari designs pale by comparison to their early slithering predecessors. The latter are part of a small-scale curated exhibit at Bulgari’s flagship […]

Konstantinos Maleas. Attika, 1923. Collection of the Greek Parliament, Athens.

Empty storefronts and bankrupt businesses indicate the depths of the financial crisis in Greece.  Art sales that take place on Athenian sidewalks make the crisis even more palpable at least to those with a knowledge and sense of history. Parting with a beloved work of art, especially one from the promising period of the 1920s […]

Daniel Brush. Bowl with golden butterflies. © Thomaï Serdari.

Luxury is the opposite of anarchy. If anarchy defies organization, luxury welcomes it. If anarchy rejects stratification, luxury aspires to it. Anarchy objects to commitment, luxury stems from it. And while absence of luxury does not lead to anarchy, anarchy is prohibitive to luxury. In an art system that is highly organized and somewhat predictable, […]