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If Someone Pays $100M for a Condo, Does That Make it Art?

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Superluxury condos, like the ones in One57 and 432 Park, have gotten so expensive that they are once again drawing comparisons to art—not in the sense that they are actual works of art, but in the sense that billionaires with no discernible taste will pay exorbitant amount of money for them just because they can. "Art is a closer analogy than stocks or bonds," Christopher J. Mayer, a real estate professor at Columbia University told the Times. "What matters is the amount of this stuff available and the number of people looking at it." Buyers are buying into that concept too, with hedge fund manager William Ackman referring to his $90 million One57 penthouse as "the Mona Lisa of apartments."

The Times has asked this question before, though and gotten some different types of answers, possibly because they talked to some actual art people. "When people get crazy over something, they like to rationalize what they do," the head of a consulting firm that specializes in the economics of the art market told the paper. "If a Russian oligarch is going to spend $88 million, then somehow he has to justify it. So he says it's more than an apartment. It's art. That's absolutely ridiculous. At the end of the day, it's still a piece of real estate."
· The Logic of an Empty $100 Million Pad [NYT]
· Overpriced Real Estate? Well, Maybe It's Art [NYT]
· One57 coverage [Curbed]


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