Science explains the popularity of Art fairs

I’ve always said the artworld has its fair share of unbalanced people, but it seems we may all be suffering from a chemical imbalance that causes “neophilia,” the syndrome Saatchi once self-diagnosed himself as having.   Based on neurological research in Japan:

It turns out some people may, in fact, be more genetically predisposed than others to wanting the newest toys, gadgets and fashions… it seems that genetic differences mean that people produce different variations of a mitochondrial enzyme called monoamine oxidase A. The researchers found that one form of this enzyme was “significantly associated with higher scores of novelty seeking.” In other words, people who produce that form of the enzyme are more likely to have novelty-seeking traits in their personality than others.


2 thoughts on “Science explains the popularity of Art fairs”

  1. If there are neophiliacs, wouldn’t there be neophobes? And would not, by extension, the entire history of art, be a struggle between the two?

    A quote from Irving Sandler’s American Art of the 1960s: “But committed art collectors did not acquire for the purposes of tax deductions, although they took full advantage of them. Nor did they care about investing for profit, although they were pleased when prices went up, since this confirmed their taste. They bought art before it reached safe levels of acceptance and a concomitant price level, when it was avant-garde indeed because it was avant-garde; a number of NEOPHILIACS would accept nothing less.”

  2. I think art does not attract neophobes. To me the struggle is rather between jaded neophiliacs and those whose imbalance remains strong.

    More seriously, I think we´re all neophiliacs when young, and then, tragically, at a certain point many people’s curiosity dies. Or they just sort of lose the plot, in the sense that they can’t be bothered to keep up with developments driven by people younger than themselves, or maybe just other than them, e.g. Clement Greenberg´s travails when Pop Art displaced his beloved AbEx. And once you stop following, it grows ever-harder to grasp anything much of what´s current.

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