This might look like an auction house, but it is actually a "brand." [Courtesy Sotheby's]

Art World Abstracts: Why a Sports-Minded Harvard MBA Now Runs Sotheby’s, and More!

In what may be a very telling look into the future of one of the world’s biggest auction houses, this article about Sotheby’s mentions not a single artwork or artist. There are no references to collectors or sales that have taken place. Auctioneers seem to no longer be of import or interest. Instead, it focuses on the new CEO, a guy who worked at the stadium that’s home to the worst team in professional basketball. He readily admits that he knows zilch about art, but that’s just fine, because he’s chasing not genius paintings but instead that quixotic unknowable entity—he’s trying to find the Sotheby’s brand. “During a March 16 conference call to introduce Smith to investors, executives used the word ‘brand’ 12 times in less than 12 minutes.” Good luck with that, guys!

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