Michael Crichton and Jasper Johns: The Most Expensive Art Critic Writing Assignment Ever

Last updated: August 18, 2020

Did you know that Michael Crichton made almost $30,000,000 for writing the gallery introduction for a Jasper Johns show?

It is not uncommon for a critic to accept a work of art as a token of thanks from an artist he has covered.

The most valuable gift went to an amateur and first-time critic, a writer who never asked for or expected any reward.

Jasper Johns gave Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain, a small painting as a token of thanks for writing the catalogue essay for Johns’ retrospective at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Crichton’s essay may be the most read of all time; it has been republished at least three times, and is available on Crichton’s website.

As quoted from The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art, by Don Thompson

Here’s the painting:

Painting that Jasper Johns gave to Michael Crichton

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