the take

New York ‘Times’ Profiles Wealthy Cowards

Photo Illustration: Getty Images, Getty Images/Hulton Archive

Today in “Thursday Styles,” the Times takes on the thorny topic of “art anxiety” — the nervousness the newly wealthy feel when faced with the necessity of beginning an art collection. The piece lays out the concerns of its subjects very efficiently: “I’ve had these posters since college, I know that as one of the American Top 10 Orthodontists I should get some real art, but I don’t know what that means.” The story’s filled with tales of woe from the rich clients of art consultants who are afraid of galleries and hesitant to shell out thousands of dollars for paintings they don’t understand.

Now, far be it for us to belittle the problems of the fabulously wealthy; we work for New York Magazine, after all. But we do kind of love that the Times devotes all this effort to creating a kind of syndrome for a problem that is more accurately described as being chickenshit.

Buck up!, we want to tell these timid hedge-fund managers. You’re a Master of the Universe! You could buy and sell these so-called artists! Walk right into one of those intimidating galleries, look the snooty director in the eye, wave your AmEx vaguely at one wall and shout, “I’ll take all of those!” That’s the way to buy some goddamned art.

For those who can’t afford to do something like that, the piece actually offers some useful tips on places to find affordable art, including Websites like 20x200 (whose founder, Jen Bekman, is the subject of another “Thursday Styles” piece, and which therefore will now be overrun with buyers, we’re sure) and June’s Affordable Art Fair. Personally, we’re big fans of Pierogi in Williamsburg, where you can put on white gloves, paw through flat files filled with prints, and walk out with work by interesting young artists for $300 or less.

The Terrible Toll of Art Anxiety [NYT]

New York ‘Times’ Profiles Wealthy Cowards