Bloomberg Businessweek

A Market Out of Control

How a few gallerists persuaded the world’s richest people to spend millions on contemporary art

In 1986, 26-year-old Jean-Michel Basquiat was earning $1.4 million a year making art. Dealers in the U.S. and Europe were wiring the onetime graffiti artist $40,000 in lump sums. But “the more money Basquiat made, the more paranoid and deeply involved with drugs he became,” writes Michael Shnayerson in his new book, Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art. Less than two years later, Basquiat died of a heroin overdose.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek7 min readPolitics
Holding the World Economy Hostage
Sun Tzu, the author of the 2,500-year-old The Art of War, is overquoted, but even in ancient China he knew the value of asymmetrical warfare—how smaller forces, such as guerrillas or today’s drones, possess advantages over huge ones, like standing ar
Bloomberg Businessweek4 min read
Britain’s Botched Welfare Overhaul
Universal Credit was a good idea that became bad policy, helping crystallize support for Brexit
Bloomberg Businessweek5 min read
A Big U-Turn On Vaping
The Trump administration gave e-cigarette makers room to grow—then reports of vaping’s risks began to emerge