Jerry Saltz Slams "Nasty" Sotheby’s $200 Million Scream Sale and Art Handlers’ Lockout

05.02.12 Marina Galperina

The Scream is dead, “lost to history” and tonight Sotheby’s auction will be a “disgusting” “freak show.” New York Magazine senior art critic+ Jerry Saltz isn’t a fan of the Munch auction. The pastel version of the painting everyone knows is estimated to bring in up to a record $200 million, that’s $10 to $20 million in commission to Sotheby’s for simply hanging out to sell. Meanwhile, Jerry notes that Sotheby’s nine month long lockout of its Art Handlers continues. Jerry doesn’t like that either.

So, why? Because collectors buy what other collectors buy, Jerry says. It’s “a self replicating organism” for grabbing up “bright, shiny and expensive” things. “It’s disgusting to me, we’re not talking about the work, we’re talking about the money. The money doesn’t really mean much.”

No museum can afford it, so Jerry supposes it will end up hanging in a wall in Dubai or Russia or on 5th Avenue or at Mitt Romney’s house. “This isn’t a way to do business.” It’s “nasty.” What would Jerry do if he had to spend $200 million on one item? Buy a building, give it to the art world for artist studios. Aw. That’s precisely why he’s “Jerry Jerry Jerry” and not “Jerry Saltz” now.