From Jerry Saltz today in New York magazine:
It looks like the art world has entered an ugly finger-pointing period. Call it the Shoot the Wounded Phase: Players at the top are starting to accuse each other of being craven, cronyistic bad actors. Everyone knows something bad is brewing, that some end or explosion is imminent amid the obscene prices, profligate spending, celebrity-artist worship, obnoxious behavior of the rich, and art as entertainment. People are showing up to say, “It wasn’t me. It was him! It was her! It was them!” A few days after Adam Lindemann’s (scathing) column (in the New York Observer) came out, the mega-mogul super-collector Charles Saatchi stepped into the arena, publishing an article in the Guardian. “Being an art buyer these days is comprehensively and indisputably vulgar … the sport of the Eurotrashy, Hedge-fundy, Hamptonites; of trendy oligarchs and oiligarchs; and of art dealers with masturbatory levels of self-regard.” Saatchi goes all out in his attack of the “stupendously rich,” saying they don’t actually “enjoy looking at art” and instead “enjoy having easily recognized, big-brand name pictures, bought ostentatiously in auction rooms at eye-catching prices, to decorate their several homes, floating and otherwise, in an instant demonstration of drop-dead coolth and wealth. Their pleasure is to be found in having their lovely friends measuring the weight of their baubles, and being awestruck.” A much better writer, collector, and thinker than Lindemann, and far more honest, Saatchi gets a lot right about ‘the success of the uber art dealers [being] based upon the mystical power that art now holds over the super-rich.” But he never turns his grand-inquisitor beam on himself, or explains how, somewhere along the line, he went off-track and lost his eye. He himself originated, and has long been the top player in, this terrible business. Good writing aside, it may be that this multimillionaire is a little upset that he’s being displaced by multibillionaires.