Looking for a blockbuster piece of art investment advice? Here’s one: “It is more profitable to invest in the artworks of more narcissistic artists.”
That a line from a new paper in the European Journal of Finance by Yi Zhou, a Florida State University professor who studies empirical asset pricing.
“You know, my data does support that: Narcissistic artists will have higher prices and they will have more recognition in the art world,” Zhou told me earlier today in a phone interview. “If I had a large pool of money, I am pretty confident that this result holds strongly.”
Maybe it’s no surprise that art actually rewards the self-absorbed. But how to prove it?
Zhou’s answer: Measure their signatures.
I’m no scientist, and this strikes me as shallow at the very least. There is one thing I can seriously agree with though:
Zhou cites one definition of clinical Narcissistic Personality Disorder: “an exaggerated sense of entitlement, exploitative tendencies, empathy deficits, and a need for excessive admiration.” Sounds like behavior that is rewarded in the art world to me!
Yep, absolutely. If you’re looking for pretentious assholes, the art world is a great place to find them.