Using Artists to Sell Condos in Miami and New York

(The New York Times) With cities like New York and Miami in the midst of another luxury condominium boom, developers seem to be tripping over one another in the scramble to announce their latest projects, and to stand out from the pack, they are locked in an escalating game of one-upmanship.

In a market where amenities like golf simulators and children’s playrooms barely raise a well-manicured eyebrow, the stakes are high. Add to this the fact that developers are asking buyers to shell out upward of $10 million for apartments that are, in many cases, still just a dirt pile on the ground, and they have no choice but to bring the razzle-dazzle.

Increasingly, the trick they are most often pulling out of their collective hat is art, with a capital A.

And some personal thoughts on the story...

The funniest part of doing this story was my interview with Julian Schnabel. As may not be surprising for one of the world's most famous (bad boy) living artists, Mr. Schnabel was impossible to reach. 

Despite cajoling from the developers who were paying his wages, and the public relations team tasked with getting some buzz for the building, Mr. Schnabel was "unavailable" when I called him at our scheduled time.

I'm used to that. But what made it great was that when we finally did speak, Mr. Schnabel refused to "stay on message" and clearly had little interest in discussing the condominium project he was meant to be marketing. Instead, Mr. Schnabel was far more intent on talking about a new exhibit of his work that is launching this fall. It was hard to disagree with him, since discussing the artistic relationship between his work and that of the late 19th century Danish artist J.F. Willumsen is far more fascinating that talking about the color of a condominium sales office.