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Wall Street Fallout, Pts 3 and 4


by Jerome Weeks 19 Sep 2008

The current financial troubles have already affected the Seattle Art Museum in a highly unusual way: It shares ownership of its downtown Seattle building with Washington Mutual — the teetering-on-the-brink savings bank. What  happens when it’s the non-profit arts institution that is the solvent landlord, and the bank is the penniless tenant? Lehman Brothers Holding […]

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  • The current financial troubles have already affected the Seattle Art Museum in a highly unusual way: It shares ownership of its downtown Seattle building with Washington Mutual — the teetering-on-the-brink savings bank. What  happens when it’s the non-profit arts institution that is the solvent landlord, and the bank is the penniless tenant?
  • Lehman Brothers Holding company owns about 3,500 contemporary art works — that now may be auctioned off in the wake of Lehman’s bankruptcy.  These include works by Louise Nevelson, Jasper Johns and Frank Stella.

    Auctioneers are experienced at liquidating corporate art collections. Sotheby’s has sold art for International Business Machines Corp. and Christie’s International has disposed of photography for bankrupt futures trader Refco Inc….

    The luster has faded for corporate art collections in general.

    “The golden age of corporate art buying was in the 1960s and 1970s, when fabled collections like IBM’s were made,” said Christie’s Americas President Marc Porter.

    Stacey Gershon, an art adviser and former senior curator of the JPMorganChase collection, said corporate art has a perception problem.

    “It just doesn’t jibe with the new lean-and-mean attitude on the street,” she said.

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