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Hedge Funds Vs. Art, Round XIII

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It’s no news that our top hedge fund guys are going in big for high-priced art but it is news that some of them are starting to move from private collections to taking larger roles at our public museums. We’ve already touched on Citadel founder Ken Griffen’s endowment of the “Kenneth and Anne Griffin Court” at the Chicago Art Institute. Today the New York Times focuses on Stevie Cohen protégé David Ganek, who went on to found Level Global Investors. It seems Ganek has been recruited to be a Guggenheim trustee and a recently succeeded in raking in $4 million, making him the museum’s top fundraiser.
Getting hedge fund kings to raise money for you is probably not a bad idea. For one thing, these guys know how to get the wealthy to open their wallets. What’s more, they have lots of other rich guys who work for them. And it never hurts to throw some dollars at the bosses favorite charity.
But what’s in it for them? The answer to that question is also the answer to the question asked by DealBook in response to a New York Observer feature on New York’s most powerful families—namely, “Where Have The Wall Street Dynasties Gone?” There’s not one prominent Wall Street or hedge fund family—other than a few names with historic ties to finance but not really actively involved—on the list. And don’t you believe for a second that its because guys and gals pulling in $25 million or more a year don’t want to be considered prominent or powerful. These art museum wings, rotundas and board memberships are all about getting on the list of important families.
It’s kind of nice to know that even in this day and age of money culture, sometimes just earning it isn’t enough. It’s what you do with it.