Dragon Psychology 101Revisionist History
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- 18 Jun 2020
Dragons hoard treasure, deep in their lairs. They don’t show it off to their neighbors. Revisionist History applies dragon psychology to the strange world of art museums, with help from Andy Warhol, J.R.R. Tolkien, a handful of accountants and the world’s leading hoarding expert.
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Starting today, if you don't live in New York State, you're going to have to pay a mandatory entrance fee to visit the Metropolitan Museum.
Eyewitness News, ABC seven New York, March 1st, 2018.
The new policy was announced in January, but it took effect today. Adults who do not have I.D. proving that they live right here in New York and have to pay twenty five dollars. Seniors will pay seventeen dollars.
If I had to pinpoint the beginning of my obsession with art museums, it would be the moment the Metropolitan Museum, one of the greatest museums in the world, decided to impose entrance fees. It was a difficult time for the institution. They had a 40 million dollar deficit. They got rid of 90 employees. Exhibitions were canceled. There was a shakeup in the leadership up and down the Upper East Side of Manhattan. There was hand-wringing and a great gnashing of teeth.
I remember one New York Times headline from that time is the Met Museum, a great institution in decline. That was followed by one expression of anguish after another, including this from the former chairman of the Mets.
Drawings and print department seem to have inherited a museum as strong as the mat was 10 years ago with a great curatorial staff. And to have it be what it is today is unimaginable. Well, exactly, because for the life of me, I couldn't imagine how it was. The map was crying poverty. I mean, they have one of the largest and most valuable art collections in the world, one point five million objects. What's all that art worth?
I don't know, a hundred billion dollars more. The Met might be the richest nonprofit institution in human history. All they would have to do is pick a couple things off the shelf and they'd never see a deficit again. This is like Jeff Bezos firing the gardener because he's out of cash. Just go to the ATM, Jeff. But they couldn't do it, they would rather fire people and make a family of four cough up to 100 dollars at the gate, then even think of parting with a single one of their possessions.
It's a puzzle, and it is for puzzles like this that we have revisionist history. My name is Malcolm Gladwell. You're listening to my podcast about things overlooked and misunderstood. This is our fifth season, five years of digression, high dudgeon, needless provocation, and my absolute favorite grand unified theory is. In this season of revisionist history, I want to explore our emotional attachment to objects and rituals and tradition and the way in which those attachments Petraeus and in this first episode, I would like to make sense of the strange relationship of the art world to art.
During his 31 year tenure as director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Phillipe D'Amato, Bello, the Met's eighth and longest serving director, guided the acquisition of more than 84000 works of art.
I found this in a video series called Great Museums, an episode from 2010 and acquiring mind lots of wide angle shots of marble floored galleries and gilt frame paintings.
NPR's Susan Stamberg narrates over what sounds like an orchestra right there. The set.
Born in France, educated at Harvard in 1963, demanded Bella brought a background in European.
The film runs for an hour. It's about the most famous director of the Met, Philip Dumont Dibella, descendant of a noble French family in particular. It's about how much stuff Philippe de Montebello bought during his 31 year tenure as head of the Met. Tapestries, African sculptures, a fabulous Vermeer, an evening gown that's to die for Tevan bought things he didn't want to buy.
Philip has been an incredible director for supporting the acquisitions of objects of great quality from across the globe.
It goes on and on about the acquiring to the point where you wonder, or at least I wondered, wait, I thought you didn't have any money.
Today, nearly two million objects comprising an encyclopedic treasury of world art are contained in the Met's growing collection.
Apparently, I was wrong in the numbers. Not one point five million objects, two million objects. Let me give you an example, maybe my favorite example of this weirdness in the art world.
It has to do with a public hearing held in July of 1991 at the Financial Accounting Standards Board, better known as the FASB. The FSB is the Vatican of the American accounting profession. And this was one of the occasional open sessions the FASB holds in order to share with the broader American public subjects of grave concern to the accounting universe.
The venue was the FASB Norwalk, Connecticut headquarters, the subject accounting for contributions received and contributions made and capitalization of works of art, historical treasures and similar assets.
The room was packed, they videotaped the proceedings so people could watch in the overflow room. I've read a transcript of the hearing, all 947 pages of it, and I would like to direct your attention to a particular exchange. It was between the then chairman of the FASB, Dennis Beresford, and a man named C. Douglas Dillon. Dylan was a tall man, gray suit patrician, a certain stature. He was former director of Dylan Reid and Co., the Wall Street firm founded by his father and was possessed of maybe the greatest resume in mid century America.
US Treasury secretary for much of the 1960s. Ambassador to France, chair of the Brookings Foundation. President of the Harvard Board of Overseers. A close friend of John Rockefeller, the third a world class collector of impressionist art and most relevant for the purposes of the hearing that day, chairman of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The American establishment sent its biggest gun to confront the FASB over the agency's proposal to change the rules surrounding the accounting for contributions received and contributions made and capitalization of works of art, historical treasures and similar assets.
The accountants, one of the art world to follow the same accounting rules as other businesses, Dylan versus Dennis Berrisford, chairman of the FASB, member of the American Accounting Hall of Fame, and the Financial Executives International Hall of Fame.
Way back on day one of the proceedings in question, Berrisford had made it plain that he wasn't going to stand for any nonsense. So C. Douglas Dillon was restrained in his objections. Gracious. I'm going to guess this was his first visit to Norwalk, Connecticut.
The room must have been hushed, right, I mean, it S. Douglas freaking Dillon. He does a little preamble carefully, explains how outraged the Met is at the intrusion of accountants into their business launches into a vivid description of the extraordinary size of the Met's collection. And then and this is maybe my favorite part of the entire 947 page transcript.
Dylan says, quote, We have a new curator of Islamic art. Been with us for a couple of years now.
We have certainly the greatest collection of Islamic rugs in the Western Hemisphere, one of the two or three in the world. He has never been able to even see that collection because so much of it is in storage and is so difficult to get out so costly and time consuming that he knows by the records what they are.
But he hasn't been able to look at them.
C. Douglas Dillon is speaking to an audience of accountants, accountants are people who like to count things more than that. They are people who believe as a matter of deep professional principle that everything can be counted. And they have proposed that the art world agreed to start counting things like everyone else.
And in response, this pillar of the American establishment shows up in suburban Connecticut and says, we can't count our things.
There's just too many of them. They're all buried somewhere in storage. To give you an example, the guy who was responsible for our Islamic rug collection, maybe the greatest Islamic rug collection in the world, mind you, has never even seen our Islamic rug collection. I have to say, this is where the art world loses me. So I called up the staffer at the FSB who organized that hearing all those long years ago. His name is Ron Bosio, just retired.
This is a good exercise for a 73 year old to test the memory to go back. Yes, I'm very I'm very impressed.
Bosio returned to his old offices at FSB headquarters to take my call so he would have access to the critical documents.
So I'm just going to pull up the financial statements of the Metropolitan Museum. And I want to just want to very briefly walk through.
I was just I was just wondering if that could be Googled up here as well.
He's on his computer. I'm on mine. We're downloading the Metropolitan Museum of Arts. Twenty nineteen annual report and locating the crucial part, the statements of financial position beginning on page 44.
I have cash. Receivable for investments sold retail inventories, these are all straightforward accounts receivable, straightforward contributions, receivable, and the pledges, financial statements for almost any organization look pretty much the same.
You start by listing your assets, everything of value. Then you list your liabilities, loans, mortgages, pension obligations, then you balance them. That's why it's called a balance sheet. Bosio and I are going down the list of the Met's assets. Then there's investments, which I'm assuming is the endowment that could be endowment or could be just investments in total.
They may not all be part of the endowment that I have fixed assets.
Three hundred and ninety three million. And then I have collections and I have nothing. It's supposed to be a precise accounting of everything that has a value, the amount the museum made last year from selling stocks, the amount of cash it has on hand, its endowment, the amount it's owed from various creditors, the amount it got in gifts and donations, even the value of the inventory in its gift shop, everything. And they add it all up and they come up with a number total assets.
But next to the line item entitled collections, that is to say, the millions of unimaginably rare and precious art objects owned by the museum. The 18 then goes to 46 Picasso's the 20 Rembrandts. There is no dollar figure, nothing. It's blank. All it says is cenote.
A OK note here. It is not a in the appendix. It says, in conformity with accounting policies generally followed by art museums, the value of the museum's collections has been excluded from the statement of financial position.
Excluded. This is a multibillion dollar organization with billions and billions of dollars in art, and it's none of it is listed on their financial statement.
I don't think I was I don't even understand how that started.
That was your reaction is similar to the reaction that some of our board members had.
On top of that, it turns out that the would rather charge admission, cut exhibitions and get rid of 90 people than sell anything, even though they have so many things like Islamic rugs that the guy running the Islamic rug collection hasn't even seen any of his Islamic rugs because they're all in storage somewhere.
In fact, most of the best collection is in storage, huge football field sized warehouses, presumably somewhere in New Jersey full of stuff.
And when the FASB says, why don't you tell us, like a normal institution just how much your stuff is worth?
Because I don't know, maybe it would be easier to think rationally about how to run things if you knew that fact.
The US crazy Dispatch's C. Douglas Dillon to Norwalk, Connecticut, to say never, not on my watch. We've never done that and we never will.
Yeah, this is unlike any other business you you're supposed to carry assets at either book or market value and you're supposed to put them in your financial reports and they don't.
This is Michael O'Haire who teaches in the business school at Berkeley.
If you ask anyone, anyone who knows their way around a balance sheet about the way museums record their assets, you get the Michael O'Haire response.
I was talking about this at some conference and somebody from an orchestra, some financial person from an orchestra said, wait a minute, you mean you buy a painting and then it just disappears and that's what happens. There's there's an expense. And then that's the last we hear about it in the financial records. It's quite, quite bizarre.
For the longest time, I would bore everyone I met with. How strange. I found all this until one day I was in Holland on my book tour in Leiden out with a bunch of people in a bar. And I told the group the story of the epic showdown between Dennis Beresford and C. Douglas Dillon.
And this one guy, a philosopher, said, Oh, it's like smog, smog, the dragon from The Hobbit who sits on a mountain of treasure smog doesn't want to use his gold. He doesn't wear it out to dragons social events. He does not list his holdings on his annual Dragon financial statement. He just wants to hoard it.
And I'm like, oh, my God, smok.
Yes, that explains everything was an old dragon and a grey stone. Red eyes blinked because he, let alone the joy, was dead. Youth spent. He was not going wrinkled wrinkle his limbs bent in the long years to his gold chain. His heartburn is the way.
This is J.R. Tolkien reading his poem.
The hoard to his belly slime then stuck thick silver and gold he would snuff and lick. To his bellies, Slim Jims stuck thick. That's what happens when a dragon sits on his treasure for too long. And the stuff that couldn't fit under his belly, the dragon, has buried deep inside his lair in storage. There's an old adage, which I'm sure has been quoted, too, so many times, you're sick of price service, quality pick any two can have everything.
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Following that epiphany in the bar in London, I resolved to perform a field test of the hypothesis that art museums are a modern day versions of the Dragon Smaug.
This was a few months back I was going to be in Pittsburgh for another reason anyway, so I decided to pay a visit to the Andy Warhol Museum, the largest museum devoted to a single artist in North America.
So I made an appointment with the museum's curator of art, Jessica Beck. And on a bright and cold morning in Pittsburgh, I headed out to the city's North Shore neighborhood, to the beautiful old warehouse that holds the museum. I told Beck I didn't want to see just the collection, the art on the walls. I wanted to see everything. So Beck graciously took me upstairs to the archives, were just off the staircase. There were dozens of brown cardboard boxes stacked in neat piles.
Oh, I see, oh, they're like they're covered in plastic and, you know, kept behind glass. Yeah, yeah. So this again is just a portion of one another. Yeah.
How many are here to see the cardboard boxes. How's what Warhol called his time capsules. There are 610 of them. In total. He would put things in these cardboard boxes, taped them shut and set them aside. But he also had other boxes, idea boxes, what are called basement boxes. After Warhol died, everything was shipped to Pittsburgh in an armada of tractor trailers. The museum's best guess is it in their archive, they have at least 500000 objects.
And so all the other boxes are behind the door. Yeah, the rest of them are back there.
Yeah, but it's not it's not something I can see that I'm not sure I can ask. We can find out because I wasn't sure.
We found one of Warhol's time capsules that had been opened. It was on the counter like a patient either ised upon a table. We peered inside.
So this is 50 Tsuge. Oh 1956 Hong Kong. Yeah. So his first trip to Asia, a lot of them are closed right now because we're sort of trying to figure out how to keep the objects from shifting.
Yeah, I was suddenly curious. I wanted to see inside one of the closed boxes. Beck said she didn't have the authority to open one up, but she made a few calls. Finally, she found someone.
Oh, OK, we have something. OK, let's go take a look.
Another of the museum staff hurried towards us.
This is John a John Major. So we are just going to peek into one just to get a sense of what's going to go pick one random six. You know that a lot of things are in folders, but so they're they're heavy.
Yeah. Yeah. They're, you know, like maybe forty or fifty pounds.
In some cases, John positioned himself in front of the box and began opening it up. His movements were assured practiced. So yeah, we took the box itself like it's part of an object. So that's why I wear the gloves. So this would have been boxes that Daddy would have his assistant store things. And we've taken the time to line the boxes with this folder type material so that the objects in the box do not touch the acidic cardboard of the original box.
And they're kind of packaged very objects in your packaging is sort of a Tetris kind of way with folders that are marked and catalogued. So in its original form, this stuff would have been just crammed in.
I wasn't sure what I was expecting to see in the box. Drawings, notes, makeshift sculptures, old canvases, the working life of an artist.
So this is a pretty cool one. A lenticular of the Daisies.
Did he make that or is that just the thing you bought? That was always something he bought. Yeah, at best he would have commissioned it to be made. But I think this was something that was purchased and then used as an inspiration for his later work. And you can smell it, right? Do you do you smell that? That's that's the object itself. Off gassing. The lenticular is one of those pieces of cardboard with an image on it that's printed in such a way that it looks like it has three dimensions.
The bigger children, this one had flowers on it.
Sometimes we find like notes like well behind his intent, like he was collecting this along with the objects. Then, you know, we can search for source material. Yeah. So he's got like six lenticular than that.
Yeah. In that top folder, John continued digging deeper, deeper into the same box.
We found an old movie scrapbook that once belonged to a fan somewhere, a bunch of eight by 10 glossies of movie stars Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball.
You want to go one more folder? Yeah, let's do one last one last political.
So we looked at a piece of what seemed like junk mail, an invite to an art opening. So even I keep the paper clips, I see. Yeah, it's ridiculous. Yeah, everything is kept so. John started whispering, it seemed appropriate. We were deep in the Dragonslayer. Now, why are Andy Warhol's time capsules full of junk because he collected junk? Well, if you wanted to me, Andy Warhol, all you had to do in the 80s was go to the flea market, the Sixth Avenue flea market.
I'm in New York talking with Simon Doonan, writer fashionista.
In fact, I just would search to flea market in the Warhol Diaries. And it comes up about 12 times because he's always going to coming from blah, blah, blah.
I've known Simon ever since he wrote a book called Eccentric Glamour years ago, which included chapters on Simone de Beauvoir, Tilda Swinton, the supermodel Iman and Me, which remains the most preposterously inaccurate but nonetheless deeply flattering thing anyone has ever written about me. I love Simon Doonan.
Anyway, back in the day, Simon knew Andy Warhol and the flea market where he hung out.
There was a protean flea market growing, expanding, retreating. Any time there's a new law available, the flea market expanded and it was a significant social scene, like I remember seeing Catherine Deneuve there. And it was just a place that you went if you were in New York, it was a way of, you know, checking everybody out, meeting your friends.
We were in Simon's apartment and impossibly chic warren of rooms.
I could walk around and show you many things that Jonathan and I or I myself bought at the Sixth Avenue flea market. That bust of Michael Jackson in which people think is a Jeff Koons was ten bucks at the flea market.
Really think it was. Jeff, good to have you told Jeff Koons.
Simon Doonan found treasure at the flea market. Everyone did.
But Warhol treated his treasure a little differently when Andy Warhol died, emerged that he had not unpacked most of this stuff that he got in the flea market. There were these stories, I think, in Vanity Fair about his house packed with shopping bags that he'd gotten at the flea market when he bought his rossell. Right, China. He collected he collected his cookie jars. Famously, he would buy those Teuscher chocolates. He was obsessed with them, but he would chew them and spit them out, you know, because he was always very concerned about keeping his trim little figure.
So the idea that he collected these big sort of rotund cookie jars be stuffed with cookies, it's kind of hilarious because he was sort of, you know, always very conscious of his son, his figure, Andy Warhol was a hoarder. All the classic symptoms. Simon Doonan used to head up the window dressing department at Barney's and he famously did a Omeish to waffle after his death entitled The Compulsive Collector.
We took the mannequin dressed in jeans, the blue blazer turtleneck. And then I just went and bought one of those tacky Warhol wigs that you could get at a Halloween store, put the glasses on him, and instantly became Andy to the point where Pat Hackett, who wrote The Warhol Diaries, was sort of, you know, skipping down 7th Avenue and screeched to a halt. And she banged on the window. She said to me, I nearly had a heart attack and he'd come back from the dead, but I could show you the window.
Simon brought out a book filled with pictures of his most famous windows.
Oh, this is fantastic. This you can see it looks just like it, just like him.
And all around the mannequin with stuff, the exact same kind of stuff that later found its way into the boxes at the War Museum.
The definition of a collector is someone who collects objects discriminately, someone who selects and chooses. But as Simon so nicely put it, Andy Warhol was a compulsive collector.
His collecting was indiscriminate. And what happens when he dies and his indiscriminate collection passes into the hands of a museum? They don't edit it or streamline it.
They keep it exactly as it was hidden away behind locked doors. The Warhol Museum is an indiscriminate collection of an indiscriminate collection.
The special thing about it, I think, is that it feels like it could be detritus in any other situation, like remains of a day.
Like there's, you know, the flight kit you would get on a first class international flight, like the slippers, the vomit bag, the silverware from that international flight, like in one of the time capsules.
So it's it's this like sense of Warhol when you're with the material.
But then again, it's it's not, you know, I mean, we even have the box. After he died at the hospital of his clothing and his final effects that were left at the hospital, we have that box preserved as it was picked up from the hospital. So it had his jacket in it that he wore to the hospital for that final visit, the backpack, exactly how it was packed. So it was like all of his glasses and the business card for his doctor in the front pocket.
Now, I don't mean to pick on the Warhol Museum, this is where all art museums do. During his tenure running the Met, Phillipe de Montebello acquired 84000 objects, the overwhelming majority of which were packed away in boxes and sent to storage in New Jersey, never to be seen again.
That's not any different from the mountain of detritus and cardboard boxes upstairs at the Warhol Museum.
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Marijuana, motorcycles and mayhem, deep cover is a true story. It begins with an FBI agent going undercover in a biker gang and it ends with, well, a war, a full scale U.S. invasion.
I'm Jake Halpern. I'm a journalist. And for the story, I've been at dive bars, horse farms, backwater swamps. I've talked to FBI agents, pirate ran actors and a bunch of big time drug smugglers. Listen to Deep Cover now and your favourite podcast app or deep cover pod dotcom brought to you by Pushkin Industries. Somewhere in the United States, there are twin brothers, I don't know precisely where they live, but in a big city, can you just describe them?
They're not married. I take it they're not married.
The psychologist Randy Frost, who worked closely with them for some time, refers to them as Alvin and Jerry, both pseudonyms born into a wealthy family, childhood prodigies, rumpled suits and bow ties.
These are two people that I really liked intensely. Brothers lived in adjoining identical penthouse apartments in a hotel, each with an 800 square foot great room with double height ceilings. Each brother had filled his great room with things, I'm quoting now from Frost's account of the case, from a book he co-authored called Stuff. Every square foot of the great room and dining room was packed with works of art and period furniture, 18th and 19th century paintings, sculptures, busse antiques, lamps, jewelry and more, and they had no pathways between all of their stuff.
You stepped over things as you walked. Some of the piles were six feet high on top of the art work, clothes everywhere and papers, business cards, bits of junk. They were lovely. They were intense in what they did that they had this kind of bond as as twins. But tension at the same time. Fascinating, fascinating characters and really very interested in this phenomenon for themselves.
This phenomenon, meaning hoarding. Frost began to study hoarding behaviors with the assumption that they sprang from the same place as obsessive compulsive disorders. The more he worked with hoarders, the more he became convinced that description didn't fit OCD behavior is about the catastrophic reaction to an intrusive thought. And those intrusive thoughts are negative danger, threat, contamination. But so much of hoarding appeared to be the opposite. It appeared to be about pleasure. One of the brothers, Alvin, would come home for lunch nearly every day just to be among his things, not to organize, but to enjoy, Frost would go with him on some of those visits and Alvin would walk through the chaos, pick up random objects and describe the story behind each one of his treasures.
Look at this doctor. His voice rose with excitement as he found a ring, the ring he thought was from western India. It was huge, almost the size of a walnut to suddenly see in the book when you're walking through Alvin's apartment with him and he's picking up objects. Yeah, but many of those objects have genuine value.
Many of them did. Some of them didn't. Some of them did. And it reminded me a little bit of Andy Warhol because he collected things in in this way and things with immense value and things of no value and put them all into into these treasure chest.
Yeah. Yeah. Was Alvin aware it must have been aware intellectually of what was marketplace valuable and what. Yes. Yes. It just it was all a value to him.
It was all value to him. Yeah. Yeah.
And he had no desire. He didn't want to show off his no treasures in an e-mail, Frost says that the impulse to hoard has three motivations as one is instrumental.
That is, I might need it someday. The other is emotional. That is this emotional connection with another person or event or something.
And the third is aesthetic, this idea of the beauty of the physical world.
The second of those ideas, the emotional one for us, describes as the Proost effect from the famous passage in Proust's Remembrance of Things Past.
He's eating this cookie and all of a sudden it brings him back to his childhood when his aunt used to make these cookies for him. And he remembers the way it felt a little bit like other phenomena is it's like hearing a song from your childhood. What started to dawn on me was that with people with this problem, these objects form that kind of experience in a much more intense way than everybody else. So somehow these objects are keys to these visceral memories that get produced.
So finding something, anything, some token, some memento, anything that from your past triggers and a much more vivid recollection and not than in the rest of us.
And then for the rest of us. Yes. And and it is a recollection.
So it's such a fascinating notion. So you mentioned music, so most of us would have it. You know, there are songs if you play them. Yes. Have that. Yeah. For me, jazz, only you I don't know what I mean, but I can imagine.
So what you're saying is that feeling I have with you eyes only you only with a book of magic box of matches or.
Absolutely. Yes. A playbill or a yes. One of Frost's patients was a woman who couldn't throw away a Disney blanket that her daughter had loved as a small child because she feels like if she throws it away, she will lose the memories associated with that blanket and she will lose that piece of history, her personal history.
And and if she throws away too much, there's nothing left of her for another patient.
It was one of those ATM cash envelopes from five years ago.
There was no cash in and she spent the cash that was in it. But on the back, she'd written how she spent it and it wasn't anything unusual. Grocery store, drugstore or a few other items. She put it in the recycle box and she started to cry and she said, it feels like I'm losing that day in my life. And if I lose too much, there'll be nothing left of me. There'll be nothing left of me. One of the twin brothers, Alvin, was a successful event organizer, he once told Frost that he had lost a folder containing his notes from something he'd organized.
And even though the event was recent, every memory he'd had of it was gone. And when he found the folder again, his memories returned. If your mind works that way, why would you ever throw away that folder?
Most people would look at this and see a mess, he told Frost on one of their visits to his penthouse.
And then he said, really, it's layered and complex there. Penthouses were so overwhelmed with stuff that they had to live elsewhere in smaller rooms in the hotel, which were also overwhelmed with stuff, but they couldn't part with any of it. It would be too great a loss. They didn't want to itemize it or put it on their balance sheet or show the world. I'm sure they had their own Islamic rugs buried somewhere in their great room, which they had never seen.
When you got them away from there from the subject of hoarding, going away from their apartments.
Yeah, I mean, what were they like?
Oh, they were they were fun. They were fascinating. They knew something about everything. They were both delightful, delightful people.
If you talk to a lay person, they would probably think of hoarding as a kind of mental illness. Imagining there's not an Mentallo. It's not a it's not a deficit that affects all aspects of your functioning.
Yeah, the way I describe it sometimes is a form of giftedness. There's a gift associated with this and appreciation for the physical world, the an appreciation for the emotional experience that's associated with objects and and that that gift unfortunately comes with a curse and the curse is not being able to manage it.
The voter is someone with the unusual ability to see beauty in the ordinary, which is exactly the point that Simon Doonan made about Andy Warhol, the nicest aspect of him was that he was very Democratic example.
He said if everyone's not a beauty, then nobody is. Well, that's kind of lovely. It's fabulous. So that's why he thought these these drag queens, you know, Jackie Curtis and Holly Woodlawn were not objectively Sophia Loren, but he saw beauty and magic and madness. And you know.
You know what? But, Simon, that is the perfect illustration of the particular condition, wonderful condition of the hoarder who applies that same logic to objects. If every object is not a is not beautiful, then no object is right. It's exactly the same. Like some crappy old broken toy is the same as Ananova vase that your grandmother left you.
Yeah, exactly. That's the that is the God that's haunting. It is, isn't it haunting, and it's why the Warhol Museum keeps all of Warhol's boxes because they have the same condition that Warhol had. They have to insist on the meaning and beauty in all of that ephemera. They're the Warhol Museum. And like the hoarder, they worry that if they get rid of any of his stuff, they'll lose their connection to him. And can they count that stuff up and put a value on it?
No, because to the hoarder, everything is of equal value.
So you get into these debates, they get esoteric sometimes, but, you know, standard setting, eventually the board says, ah, we've got to get to closure, we've got to make a decision. We can't just go on forever.
Ron Bosio, my guide to the hearing of the FASB in 1991 when C. Douglas Dillon appeared in Norwalk, Connecticut, and stood up before the Vatican of accounting and said, we cannot tell you what we have in our collections. That is not the way our imaginations are wired. And the Vatican backs down, the accountants realize that this is a battle they cannot win with the result that on virtually every American Art Museum balance sheet, there is some version of note A.
In conformity with accounting policies generally followed by art museums, the value of the museums collections has been excluded from the statement of financial position.
When the moon was new in the suneung of silver and gold, the gods sang the green grass, the silver spin and the Whitewater's. They were gold.
Fill in Tolkien's poem The Hoard. Everyone who desired the treasure dies in the end, but the treasure remains buried deep in giant warehouses in New Jersey.
There is an old hole in a dark rock, forgotten behind doors, none can unlock that grim gate. No man can pass on the moon, grows the green grass there, sheep feed in the dark.
So the wind blows from the seashore. The old hole the night you keep earthquakes and the elves sleep. Revisionist history is produced by McLibel and Leming EU with Jacob Smith, Alawi's Litan and Ana Naim.
Our editor is Julia Barton. Original scoring by Luis Scarer, mastering by Flon Williams, fact checking by Beth Johnson. Special thanks to the Pushkin crew. Heather Fain, Carly Migliore, Maia Canik, Maggie Taylor, Jason Gambril and of course LFN Jacob Weisberg.