Art Is OK, A Ferrari Is Bizarre

May 19, 2008

I have written a lot about the high price of art these days — $33 million here, $50 million there, another $86 million some place else. And I can just about understand it all. But $11 million for a car? That is very strange to me.

It is true that I have a negative relationship with cars, and haven’t owned one for more than 16 years. But even so. Doesn’t it seem truly bizarre to you that someone would put down $10,894,900 for a 1961 Ferrari California Spyder. Other than having been owned previously by actor James Coburn, the car isn’t even unique; fifty-five others were also built.

A $50 million painting can do exactly what it was designed to do — hang on a wall and give aesthetic enjoyment. But an $11 million car cannot be driven the way it was engineered to perform; it can just sit in a multi-car garage and look pretty (if you like that sort of thing).

OK, OK, I accept that some folks would consider the Spyder a form of art. Fair enough. I still think it is damned odd, though.