hardly anybody was willing or able to explain the actual process of creating astronomical value where otherwise none might exist, and how, over many years, prices with no underlying logic have not only been sustained but have inevitably headed ever higher.
Those questions were absent in the auction commentary despite a steady litany of recent scandals in the art world. This included last week's guilty plea by art family scion Helly Nahmad, accused of racketeering, money laundering, extortion and gambling in concert with a coterie of Russian gangsters. His plea helps his secretive family, one of the most powerful in the art market, avoid further scrutiny.
Indeed, it is nearly commonplace among art professionals that art, perhaps second only to drug trafficking, is among the world's most lucrative dubious business. It is hard to overlook the connections between these two cash-rich enterprises.