Andrew Hall, an oracle of oil prices, is known to fellow
traders as, simply, God. But even the Almighty is having
problems with Instagrams decency rules.
Halls trading isnt getting him into trouble.
Its his art. Hall, made famous by his $100 million payday
in 2008 as head of Citis Phibro, now runs his own hedge
fund, Astenbeck Capital Management. If his social media
presence is any indication, being freed from bailed-out bank
life has allowed Hall to explore a passion for art. His
world-class-and-growing collection resides partly at a farm in
Vermont, in a castle in Germany, and on loan in various museums
as well as captured on Halls vibrant Instagram
@Andyhall16s sensibilities run to the provocative or
profane, depending on your level of acceptance. Example: A
January 2 post featured images of first ladies Martha
Washington, Jackie Kennedy, and Michelle Obama, and
thenFirst Ladyelect Melania Trump. Only the first
three wore clothes. That Mrs. Trumps bare image remains
available to his nearly 2,500 followers is likely due to her
hand covering her private parts, and her pixelated nipples.
Such discretion was new for Hall. Throughout the summer and
fall, pieces of art populated the feed that would test most
mothers. Tony Matellis Sleepwalker depicting a
topless female somnambulist made an appearance on August
25. On October 21, Robert Overbys UT Daylillies featured
the bare rear end of a young woman. Following the election, he
produced a flurry of Nazi-referencing images. Among them was
Jörg Immendorffs Folgen, portraying an ornate,
burning swastika, with the comment, Joerg told me just
before he passed away that the smoldering embers of
societys fascistic tendencies were waiting to be fanned
by the next fanatic. A few days later a 1949 untitled
work by Francis Picabia appeared. I think we loaned this
little drawing to the show that is opening at MOMA, Hall
commented. It depicted oral sex.
On December 8, Hall finally ran afoul of Instagrams
sensibilities, if not a strict interpretation of its rules.
According to the companys community guidelines,
there are times when people might want to share nude
images, but we dont allow nudity on
Instagram. This includes photos, videos, and some
digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse,
genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks. Yet,
confusingly, the guidelines also state that nudity in
photos of paintings and sculptures is OK.
Either way, on the 8th of December, Hall posted a painting
by contemporary artist John Currin, whose work often sells for
north of $1 million. If the piece was true to form, it
traffick[ed] in lowdown humor, heartless kitsch, and
ironic smut, as the New York Times thenart
critic Michael Kimmelman wrote in 2003. Not that Halls
followers had much of a chance to critique: Company censors
swooped down and removed the photograph of a painting of, very
likely, ironic smut.
Hall was furious. So IG couldnt handle John
Currin, he wrote in a comment. Whoever feels
compelled to report my posts please stop following and go live
your miserable life without inflicting your pathetic moralistic
values on me.
Like the gutsiest of traders, Hall doubled down. The
following day he all but challenged Instagram to do the same
thing. Posting the explicit LOrigine du monde by Gustave
Courbet, he added a comment: OK, lets see how long
this lasts [sic]. It passed the month mark in early
The fight with Instagram censors has perhaps pleasantly
diverted Hall from a legal one that made page one of the New
York Times in October. According to court documents, Hall
accused a mother and son of selling him $675,000 of forged art.
The duo disappeared, however, leaving Hall and the 24 dubious
Yet no art feud would shake up Andrew Hall, oil god. In
August, with crude selling around $40 per barrel, Hall declared
in a client letter that prices were poised for a violent
reversal, Bloomberg reported.
@Andyhall16 once again proved his impeccable eye. By the
years end oil was up more than 30 percent.