What Money Can Buy

The New Yorker’s ‘Style’ issue has two especially interesting pieces. The first is “The Alchemist: Tobias Meyer and the art of the auction,” about this 43-year-old Sotheby’s wunderkind. The article’s author is with Meyer as he meets a loaded (but low-key and wrinkled) collector who’s interested in a large, abstract Anthony Caro sculpture that was set to be on the block later that evening.

Meyer and the collector shook hands and drifted toward the Caro, an eleven-foot-long, seven-foot-high assemblage of construction-site girders bolted and welded together and painted army green. Meyer, gazing at the sculpture, said, in a low rumble, 'It’s amazing.’

A long paragraph later:

The collector’s wife entered the gallery and approached the sculpture. Meyer kissed the woman’s cheek. Then he receded a few paces and leaned against a doorjamb, crossing his legs at the angle.

'It’s amazing,’ the man said to his wife.

Perfectly told. The issue’s second highlight is Ben McGrath’s “The Utopians: Yaddo meets Club Med,” about the spirited attempts of a loaded and relatively young couple – Boykin Curry and Celerie Kemble – to “turn a Dominican retreat into a creative Eden.” It’s called Playa Grande, and it cost Curry just $50 million. There are other investors, Moby and Charlie Rose among them. I can’t locate the New Yorker piece online, but here’s the New York Post following up. As it mentions, one of Curry’s first three capital investments was the purchase of the complete Penguin Classics Library Collection ($8,000; free shipping). Should the lucky couple be unable to visit their paradise on a given a weekend, they’ll just have to do with their ridiculous view of Central Park.