Yesterday we reported that the art installed in the lobby of Goldman Sachs’s new headquarters was earning the scorn and scowls of employees. The money spent on the hideous paintings by Julie Mehretu and a Franz Ackerman was “wasted”, we wrote.
But we’ll be honest. We’re not well-known for our art criticism or our knowledge of the art market. We have strong opinions that are not necessarily reflective of contemporary tastes in art. And now we’ve heard from a former gallery owner turned cultural critic — and he says we’re dead wrong.
“You guys!” Choire Sicha writes at The Awl. “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.”
Apparently this is great art, in the same way that a great trade is a great trade — it’s worth more all the time and impresses wealthy clients.
And, yes, we too are amused by the irony that Sicha is more attuned to commercial aspects of the art, while we — and the Goldman employees we spoke to — were interested in aesthetics.