Art collecting used to be a rich person's game but now it is an obesely rich person's obsession. The activity in this normally-neglected area of news lately has been 2 fast, 2 furious to ignore. In our relentless pursuit to broaden and sculpt the minds of our readers and to jump on the latest trend (we totally missed out on Texas Hold-'em), TMT is taking the time today to delve into the cool chasm of art collecting and its equally exciting world of international wheeling and dealing.

How to sell a painting:

At the beginning of November, David Geffen — hot-shot talent-spotter, music mega-king, film and Broadway producer, original Gerber baby, etc. — reportedly sold a painting, No. 5, 1948 by master splatter-and-drip artist and master drunkard Jackson Pollock, for an estimated $140 million, thus making it the largest amount paid for a single painting... ever! (see, it is exciting... you can tell that because I've typed the word "ever" in italics and I also used an exclamation point). To most of us paying that sort of cash for a painting would be on par with dropping $10.00+ at Amazon for this, but to each his own, I guess. The days of poaching Sub Pop's biggest and brightest may be in his past, but it's a small worry for Geffen, who not only made the grand gain on the Pollock, but also snagged $143.5 million the previous week for selling works by Jasper Johns and Willem de Kooning.

First reported by The New York Times, the $140 million single sale by Geffen to Mexican financier David Martinez is a new record for a single sale, outdistancing the previously held mark of $135 million that make-up man Ronald Lauder paid for Gustav Klimt's Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I in June of this year. While many are hinting this sudden offloading of art by Geffen is in preparation for his bid to purchase The Los Angeles Times or perhaps to free up money for more philanthropic endeavors, we prefer to think he's got the special powers to predict upturns in the art market, not unlike Miss Cleo. Regardless, when it comes to buying low and selling high and getting deals done, the man knows his ass from his elbow. Unlike...

How not to sell a painting:

In October, Steve Wynn — casino-owning monster, Vegas resuscitator, and our choice for the next Inspector Clouseau — was set to unload Le Rêve, a Picasso that he bought for $48.4 million, to friend Steven Cohen for $139 million. While most reports tell the incident in a rather non-chalant, "no big deal" manner, we prefer to believe something happened more along the lines of a bizarre Rube Goldberg scenario. An unidentified fake witness told us what really went down.

Apparently "one of the hired help" (rich people do NOT have accidents) was quietly cleaning up a spilled glass of Krug Clos du Mesnil champagne and he "must have" let his broom fall, which happened to brush against the erotic zone of an exotic Tanzanian pink pet chimp who immediately popped a boner, got frazzled, and jumped into a $50,000 Ferrari Testarossa junior go-kart and drove throughout the room. After knocking down columns holding such boy toys as gem-encrusted Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads and Swarovski crystal-studded Pez dispensers, Chimpy finally ended his joyride by crashing through the french doors of living room #23 and straight into the pairing of life-size replicas of Batman (in Lego and Beluga caviar) and Robby the Robot (in bright white gold) that Wynn had wedged together in a 69 "for shits and giggles." Meanwhile, the commotion caused private school javelin star Jordan Alphonse Carrington III to flinch and "accidentally" put his hand onto debutante Keely Wentworth's newly enhanced left tit prompting her to squeal and stamp her foot down right onto the toe of Lady Bracknell's Manola Blahnik's alligator high heel. Lady B, who hadn't seen such a scene since the Foresters served salmon at a Tuesday luncheon (a faux-pas of monumental proportions among certain aristocratic folk), fainted and fell onto the levitating hover scooter that Wynn uses to hide Easter eggs every April. The scooter, whirly-birding because of the weight imbalance, started gyrating on the floor, scattering layers of fine pine everywhere. Fearing a splinter might drop into his glass of old-flecked mineral water, Wynn took a step back and put a small tear in the Picasso canvas with his elbow, thus nixing the Picasso transfer.

Of course we wouldn't go out of our way to poke fun at anyone who suffers from eye disease retinitis pigmentosa (as Wynn does), but if Wynn knew his ass from his elbow, there would probably not be a 2" rip in his wall covering. There may be a quarter-buttcheek concave dent though...

The moral to any of this? Um, never let Steve Wynn near any of your valuables? Yeah, that will do.

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