Bloomberg View is back this morning with the second installment of a column we posted about yesterday, about finance and art. From this second column, which is also by the chair of the department of religion at Columbia University, Mark Taylor: "Each week brings another account of a newly rich hedge-fund manager buying art at a ridiculously inflated price."
The prices may seem "ridiculously inflated" to Professor Taylor (though some might apply the same description to the $59,208 that Columbia says is the cost of attending for nine months in the 2011-2012 academic year). But perhaps not to those making the purchases. Further, it seems to me that at least some of the big money purchases in the art world in recent decades have been driven not by "newly rich hedge-fund managers" but rather by non-profit organizations like the Getty musuem, funded by an oil fortune, and the new Walton-funded museum in Arkansas, funded by the Walmart fortune. So much for Professor Taylor's theory that "finance capitalism" is ruining modern art. But why let the facts stand in the way of an opportunity to take a shot at a "newly rich hedge-fund manager"? Would Bloomberg News and the chairman of the Columbia Religion department prefer that art not be acquired by anyone "newly rich," but that there be some kind of rule limiting art purchases only to those whose families have been rich for a Columbia and Bloomberg-approved number of generations?