Must Be a Slow News Day at The New York Times


The story in The New York Times about the digital industry not buying art is a non-story. Having worked in journalism for many years, I can just smell what took place before this story was created. Some section editor was thinking of how much copy he or she needed to fill a section and then told the writer exactly what to deliver.

The assignment editor probably just woke up, realized that both industries shared the same neighborhood, and thought it was an easy piece to get done fast. I can hear the dialogue. “Hey, this is a quickie. The kids in this area don’t go to galleries, so find a few people that will comment on that and produce an article.”

This is done all the time. I have a friend in the TV business who often admitted how his assignment editor would send him out to do a piece and told him exactly what to capture. “We need a sad story today, so when you cover that beauty pageant, make sure you find someone whose mother was too sick to attend. Make it emotional, yet hopeful. Even better, spiritual.”

After you have been in the news business for a long time you know what a “filler” looks like. First of all, young kids don’t buy art unless their parents did. Secondly, 99.9 per cent of the digital folks in the Chelsea area do not have the money to buy art. How many digital millionaires are walking around the streets of Manhattan? Very few. The ones who do have some extra cash are very careful about buying anything that conspicuous. Investors and shareholders don’t want to see Jackson Pollacks, William de Koonings, and Gustav Klimts gracing the walls of the casual digital offices. Barry Diller, who owns Vimeo, OK Cupid, and, has an extensive art work collection. His Frank Gehry-designed offices are smack in the middle of the Chelsea art community. However, Diller is a rich businessman for many decades and can’t be put in the same league as the digital newbies who recently made it big.

The art world will definitely attract the digital kids, but they are going to have to wait until they are old enough to shave.


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