Mark Ford

From Mark Ford, editor, Creating Wealth: As with anything (stocks, fashion, real estate), it’s easy to be swayed by “the experts.”

Your gut tells you something’s beautiful. But then, you read a critic’s review, and suddenly, you think you must have misjudged it.

Art criticism can be biased, convoluted, and silly.

Reading it can feel like stepping into a cocktail party of overeducated, pretentious snobs.

The sad truth is the people who write that stuff are often highly regarded, and their words carry tremendous weight in the industry. If, for example, an art critic for The New York Times recognizes a schizophrenic porn star as “the next Koons,” you might think he’s full of hogwash.

But rest assured, collectors will immediately start flocking to the “artist’s” shows and driving up the value of his work.

The more you learn about art, the more you’ll learn how to decipher the strange, coded language of the experts. You’ll be able to read between the lines and understand whether they’re alerting you to a great investment opportunity or simply spouting gibberish.

Until then, treat all critics with a healthy dose of skepticism. Learn from them what you can… but don’t take everything they say as gospel.

Reeves’ Note: Mark reveals three more tricks for getting the most out of your visit to an art museum in his essay, “Cultivate a Winner’s Eye.” It’s essay No. 4 in the Wealth Builders Club’s “Collecting 101” series.