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CENTS AND SENSIBILITY: COLLECTING THE ’80s

Obtainment of one more object does not bring an end to the longing. Instead, it is the recurrence of the experience that explains the collector’s mental attitude. . . . Obtainment in whatever way—bought, found, or even acquired by scheming or tricky means or thievery—works like a mood regulator and provides the owner with a potential sense of success or triumph, and occasionally of grandeur, as is the case with the winner at the gaming table or the astute buyer in the auction room.

Werner Muensterberger, Collecting: An Unruly Passion (1994)

If the special status of art as a commodity whose dollar value is unrelated to its use value makes those who collect it a special breed, then collectors of contemporary art, the market for which is notoriously fickle, are a breed apart. Risk takers of this order, especially those uncushioned by family or business fortunes, are admired—albeit

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