Pop goes the art market – Fortune

Pop goes the art market – Fortune
News from Pop goes the art market – Fortune:

In November the world’s two biggest auction houses reported that a staggering $ 2 billion-plus in contemporary art had been sold in a matter of days at their fall auctions. A roster of pieces by Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, Alberto Giacometti, and others took the prices of modern and contemporary art into a stratosphere once limited to older classics. The Dom Pérignon, it seemed, was flowing in the executive suites of Sotheby’s and Christie’s.

Less than a month after the record auctions, the CEOs of both companies announced they were stepping down. What in the name of Francis Bacon was going on? Underneath the gorgeous veneer of blowout sales figures, it turns out, the financial picture for the auction houses is considerably less appealing.

Call it the art-world paradox: The market is euphoric, cash is gushing—and the French-cuffed, bespoke-suited Sotheby’s and Christie’s have responded by engaging each other in a knife fight for market share. Only in this case, it seems, they are plunging their ivory-handled daggers into their own legs as much as they are wounding their rivals. The proof: Last year Sotheby’s enjoyed a 6% increase in revenues—but suffered a 9% decrease in profits. Christie’s is private—it strenuousl…………… continues on Pop goes the art market – Fortune

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Nigeria Poll Process Stalled by Absent Staff, Faulty Gear
News from Bloomberg:

(Bloomberg) — Nigerians faced long delays as they tried to register to vote in elections on Saturday as officials failed to turn up and equipment malfunctioned at polling centers across the country.

At some polling stations officials from the Independent National Electoral Commission didn’t arrive on time for the 8 a.m. official start of the registration process, Clement Nwankwo, executive director of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, who is monitoring the ballot, said by phone. A number of voter card readers also weren’t working, he said.

Provisional data show that the poll process started late at 31 percent of stations, Agianpe Ashang, coordinator of the PLAC, said in interview in Abuja. In Karu, a southeastern district outside of Abuja, INEC workers only arrived about 9:30 a.m.

“We came here around 7 a.m.,” Celestina Emehel, 54, a primary school teacher said as she queued to register in Karu. “We thought that by this time they should have started the election. The day will be long. I don’t think they will finish before 7 p.m.”

Nigerians are voting in what is expected to be the tightest election since the military relinquished power in 1999. Former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari, a 72-year-old northern Muslim who’s lost three previous elections, is trying to end the reign of the People’s Democratic Party…………… continues on Bloomberg

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