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'60 Minutes' surveys art market with Eli Broad, Jeffrey Deitch

April 2, 2012 |  7:00 am

  Eli Broad

On Sunday, "60 Minutes" aired a segment surveying the current art-market boom, with Morley Safer reporting from Art Basel Miami Beach.  While the segment didn't offer much in the way of new news, especially for people who follow the contemporary art scene, it featured interviews with three key players of the L.A. art world -- Eli Broad, Jeffrey Deitch and Tim Blum.

Safer's report is a follow-up to his 1993 segment "Yes... but is it art?" The controversial piece questioned whether certain cutting-edge works qualified as art and landed Safer in hot water with some viewers who branded him a philistine.

Sunday's story attempted to examine why the art market has managed to outperform the S&P 500 and defy the current economic recession. Blum, who is the co-owner of the Blum & Poe gallery, described today's art market as the "wild west" and a "bizarre place to do business."

"This is all theater," he said, referring to the buying and selling at Art Basel. He also said the boom in art prices is "inexplicable."

Safer spoke with Broad, whom the journalist described as a one-percenter of the one-percent. Broad was in Miami Beach looking at art, and he offered praise to Cindy Sherman, whose art he has collected extensively.

Broad is no stranger to "60 Minutes." Last year, the CBS News program profiled the L.A. billionaire in a piece that explored his philanthropy and reputation among L.A. cultural leaders.

Deitch, the head of the Museum of Contemporary Art and former art dealer, offered his assessment of the art market, noting that a Jeff Koons work was "very well sold at $250,000" about 20 years ago. Today, a Koons work can command $25 million or more, he said. (Deitch and Koons have been friends for years.)

"60 Minutes" managed to corner gallery owner Larry Gagosian for a few quick words. The segment also featured interviews with collector Dennis Scholl as well as people from the Guggenheim.

The full segment from Sunday's broadcast is available online.

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-- David Ng

Photo: Eli Broad in Sunday's edition of "60 Minutes." Credit: CBS

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