The $12 Million Stuffed Shark – The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art by Donald N. Thompson

The First Books | London and Global Stops

Thompson, an acclaimed museum director and art collector, presents a witty, wide-ranging account of contemporary art. He takes us around the world, beginning with a surprising meditation on Christian saints and the transformation of relics into commodities.

In ‘The $12 Million Stuffed Shark,’ he travels to the Venice Biennale opening on the canals, inside Damien Hirst’s London studio, Beijing’s 798 Art District for a revelatory conversation with Zhang Xiaogang, and to Silicon Valley with Peter Thiel.

If you work for an art dealer, this is likely one of the three books you will be told to get to learn about the field. Art collectors should understand the ecosystem they are joining, just as art gallery assistants want to know what collectors desire.

Joelle’s Library

Learning about the art world can seem elusive. It shouldn’t be.

Building your art bookshelf is a forever-ongoing process. I’ve included an Amazon link to help you find the right next book for you, but you can always purchase at your local bookstore in person or at

The books are organized into categories. The First Books are for those brand-new to the art world. More seasoned collectors can jump ahead to dive deeper into specific threads.

  1. The First Books
  2. Artists & Art History
  3. The Science & Art Of Collecting
  4. The Buying & Selling Of Art
  5. The Art Market

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