I know it sounds crazy but just-- hear me out. As you're aware, nobody gets any real respect in this business until they've found themselves some eccentric artist, duped his/her friends/colleagues/peers in the field/just rich people in general into buying said eccentric artist's pieces for an obscene number of clams, and then having people say you, like, discovered the guy or put his name on the map or something. Unfortunately, Damien Hirst is spoken for. And for that matter, so is his 'animal-in-formaldehyde' shtick, which is pretty much exhausted at this point, having done not just the suspended-killer fish for the BSD crowd, but the unicorn as well, for those whose tastes veer more toward the Renaissance Fair-inspired, gay works. It's always easier to come up with a gimmick in the early days, of course, so the next guy's really gonna have to think big. Like, animals nailed to a cross big.
In a darkened 19th-century former church near London's Regent's Park, Michael Platt sips white wine and contemplates an unusual altar display: a life-size wax gorilla nailed to a wooden cross. The sculpture is a new work by Paul Fryer, a young British artist whom Platt, co-founder of hedge fund firm BlueCrest Capital Management Ltd., has sponsored for the past three years. Like a modern-day Medici, Platt has recouped his investment by selling Fryer's works to collectors such as French billionaire Francois Pinault.
As he gazes at the ape -- intended to represent the desecration of nature -- Platt, 41, says, "The point is not to make money out of it; it's to have fun. I'm not trying to make the art business my ticket out of the hedge fund world."
So he's not trying to get rich off this thing but obviously he'd like Fryer to do so, as it'd be a win-win for both of them. Who's gonna step up to the plate? Don't say no, just say maybe. Imagine how great that would look in the lobby of your hedge fund. First thing people see. Really sends a message.
BlueCrest's Platt Turns Grandma's Advice Into Hedge Fund Gold [BusinessWeek via BI]