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Boom: The Megadealers Behind the Irresistible Rise of the Contemporary Art Market

Michael Shnayerson

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History of art / art & design styles

A behind-the-scenes look at the egomaniacs, geniuses, and canny promoters who shaped the world of modern art and created the largest unregulated financial market in the world.

Before Damien Hirst stuffed a shark, before Basquiat picked up a spray can, before Andy Warhol started The Factory, a pile of unwanted Jackson Pollocks changed everything. From them emerged the first major modern art dealer. It was 1947, and the art world would never be the same.

From the early days on 57th Street, to the rise of SoHo in the 60s, to the emergence of Chelsea as the hotbed of art galleries, we see the meteoric rise and the devastating falls of the most renowned dealers: Larry Gagosian, David Zwirner, Arne Glimcher, and Iwan Wirth. With unparalleled access, the longtime Vanity Fairreporter tells us the story of contemporary art through the people who coddled, supported, and funded the likes of Jeff Koons, and Cy Twombly.

It's a story of backstabbing, betrayals, fruitful partnerships, genius, and ever larger sums of money. The world of contemporary art is inextricable from the wild wealth and naked financial opportunism that surrounds it.

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