A Saudi prince is paying $450 million for a mediocre painting by Leonardo da Vinci; a Dutch politician is pledging a crate of beer for a new composition. In a nutshell, these two extremes capture our current dealings with culture. Total contempt on the one hand and unimaginable overvaluation on the other are two sides of the same coin. We judge art not for its intrinsic, but for its economic value. It does not matter whether the prince mo...
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