Special Issue "The Contemporary Art Market"

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (14 August 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. John Zarobell
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of International Studies, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA
Interests: art market studies; contemporary art; globalization; urban arts; urban development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Studies of the contemporary art market have accelerated considerably in the 20th century, and this Special Issue seeks to collect recent developments in the field of Art Market Studies, seeking interdisciplinary approaches to the contemporary art market, from art history/criticism, economics, anthropology, sociology, urban studies and cultural studies. For this issue, there is a particular interest in the expansion of the art market globally, new approaches to the art market emerging in locations in the Global South, as well as market alternatives that have emerged and been propelled by artists around the globe.

As the scale of the contemporary art market has mushroomed in the past generation, art historians and critics have turned to market and exhibition studies in order to account for the proliferation of the contemporary art domain in the 21st century. Cultural economists have concerned themselves with commercial activities far from the domain of business to nonprofits, art auctions, and even private galleries and the economic effects that they produce. Sociologists have considered the mechanisms of the art world and the structures and communities generated through the market. While there is a broader global market for fine art, there are also countless local art market manifestations that lead to incongruities and distortions in relation to the global art market. Historians are also considering how contemporary practices are informed by historical developments in the market, and the implications that these have for the apprehension of art and its popularity today. Anthropology and Urban Studies have also focused on artists who manifest their work in public venues or at biennials, ostensibly outside of the market, but often having market effects.

This issue seeks to survey the newly emerging field of art market studies but also aims to expand it to include new parameters for the market and the alternatives, such as art collectives and festivals, that challenge the dominance of the market as the pre-eminent arbiter of cultural value. The issue aims to provide a kaleidoscopic view of the art market today and its implications for transnational culture, society and politics. As artists have devised ways of transgressing boundaries to generate the most engaging work, scholars aiming to account for the market and for exhibitions of their work are expanding the purview of what is important to examine when it comes to decoding and generating meaning from today’s contemporary art sphere.

Please send a 200-word abstract to John Zarobell ([email protected]) by 15 May 2020. Please note that there is a two-stage submission procedure. The editor will first collect abstracts of 200 words by May 2020. Before 1 June 2020, he will invite selected abstracts to be submitted as full papers for peer review by 15 August 2020. Journal publication is expected in December 2020, depending on the revision time needed after peer review.

Dr. John Zarobell
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • contemporary art market
  • cultural economics
  • global art
  • exhibition studies
  • global south
  • alternatives to the market

Published Papers (18 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Arts Special Issue “The Contemporary Art Market”
Arts 2021, 10(3), 43; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts10030043 - 30 Jun 2021
Viewed by 402
Abstract
When setting out to organize this Special Issue of Arts, I began with the goal to survey the emerging field of art market studies but also to expand the notion of the market to include alternatives, such as art collectives and festivals, [...] Read more.
When setting out to organize this Special Issue of Arts, I began with the goal to survey the emerging field of art market studies but also to expand the notion of the market to include alternatives, such as art collectives and festivals, that challenge the dominance of the market as the pre-eminent arbiter of cultural value [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Editorial
Interview with Yves Bouvier
Arts 2020, 9(3), 97; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts9030097 - 21 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1466
Abstract
Yves Charles Edgar Bouvier is a founder and/or shareholder of the following firms: Expositions Natural le Coultre SA (Geneva), Fine Art Transports Natural le Coultre SA (Geneva), Le Freeport Management Pte Ltd (Singapore), The Singapore Freeport Real Estate Pte Ltd, The Luxembourg Freeport [...] Read more.
Yves Charles Edgar Bouvier is a founder and/or shareholder of the following firms: Expositions Natural le Coultre SA (Geneva), Fine Art Transports Natural le Coultre SA (Geneva), Le Freeport Management Pte Ltd (Singapore), The Singapore Freeport Real Estate Pte Ltd, The Luxembourg Freeport Management Company SA, The Luxembourg Freeport Real Estate SA, and Art Culture Studio SA (Geneva) [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)

Research

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Article
The Emergence of an Auction Category: Iranian Art at Christie’s Dubai, 2006–2016
Arts 2021, 10(2), 35; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts10020035 - 27 May 2021
Viewed by 353
Abstract
The expansion of the British auction houses Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams to markets in the Middle East has played a crucial role in building an international market for art from the region. They have also been essential in providing an international platform for [...] Read more.
The expansion of the British auction houses Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams to markets in the Middle East has played a crucial role in building an international market for art from the region. They have also been essential in providing an international platform for the sale of art from Iran, a country whose economy is otherwise isolated from global markets. In this paper, I address the growth of the market for Iranian art specifically via Christie’s auctions in Dubai. Through close analysis of auction catalogs, ethnographic data drawn from live auctions and interviews with key staff members, I document the emergence of Iranian art into the international arena and the solidification of both Iranian and Middle Eastern art as a distinct category of sales. In particular, I explore the notion of “seeing with the other eye”, a way that auction specialists nudge local collectors into the arena of “international” taste. Through analysis of the particular tropes used to narrate artist biographies in auction catalogs, I demonstrate how artists are painted as interpreters and translators of “local” and “global” aesthetic registers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Article
Becoming Asia’s Art Market Hub: Comparing Singapore and Hong Kong
Arts 2021, 10(2), 28; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts10020028 - 27 Apr 2021
Viewed by 487
Abstract
The recent emergence of new regions in the global art market has been structured by hub cities that concentrate key actors, such as global auction houses, influential art fairs, and galleries. Both Singapore and Hong Kong have developed explicit strategies aimed at positioning [...] Read more.
The recent emergence of new regions in the global art market has been structured by hub cities that concentrate key actors, such as global auction houses, influential art fairs, and galleries. Both Singapore and Hong Kong have developed explicit strategies aimed at positioning themselves as Asia’s art market hub. This followed the steep rise of the Chinese art market, but also the general perception of Asia as the world’s most dynamic art market. While Hong Kong’s emergence derives from its status as gateway to the Chinese market, and has been driven by key global players, such as the auction houses Christies’ and Sotheby’s, the Art Basel fair, and mega-galleries, Singapore’s strategy has been driven by the state. At the end of the 2000s, the city identified the art market as a new growth sector, and proactively invested, by creating a cluster concentrating international galleries and supporting art fairs, art weeks, and new world-class cultural institutions. Based on comparative fieldwork, and interviews with actors of the Singapore and Hong Kong art markets, this article shows that the two cities’ distinct strategies have generated contrasted models of “cultural hubs”, and that they play complementary roles in the structuration of the region’s art market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Article
Art Funds in China: Developments and Limitations
Arts 2021, 10(1), 4; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts10010004 - 09 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1026
Abstract
This paper focuses on a type of worldwide art investment vehicle in an unexplored yet significant area: the Chinese art fund. It seeks to understand why art funds exploded in China after the 2008 financial crisis and how they have developed new features [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on a type of worldwide art investment vehicle in an unexplored yet significant area: the Chinese art fund. It seeks to understand why art funds exploded in China after the 2008 financial crisis and how they have developed new features in the Chinese context. Further, it discusses the relationship between Chinese art funds and the Chinese art world. While these two groups tend to be what sociologists call “hostile worlds” in the West, my study shows that actors in the Chinese art world tend to take a pragmatic attitude toward capital. Thus, art funds face fewer social limitations in the Chinese art world than their Western counterparts. However, Chinese art funds face limitations in terms of accessibility, credibility, and liquidity. These limitations have been caused mainly by a series of regulations launched since 2013, which has primarily resulted in a decline of art funds in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Article
United States Economic Sanctions on Iran and Their Impacts on the Middle Eastern Art Market
Arts 2020, 9(4), 132; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts9040132 - 18 Dec 2020
Viewed by 739
Abstract
The United States’ sanctions on Iran have limited the Iranian art market’s connections with the international art network. Galleries try to compensate for such limitations through online marketing and exhibition. Thus, the sanctions not only impact the form of marketing exerted by dealers [...] Read more.
The United States’ sanctions on Iran have limited the Iranian art market’s connections with the international art network. Galleries try to compensate for such limitations through online marketing and exhibition. Thus, the sanctions not only impact the form of marketing exerted by dealers but also directly influence the type of artistic production. Such changes also reshape the art market in the Arab states. The transition from tangible to intangible has become a strategy for the regional market to bypass the sanctions and develop business with the global collectors and institutions. A quantitative analysis was used to demonstrate the impact of the sanctions on the art market in Iran and the United Arab Emirates. This analysis examined all exhibitions in 12 commercial galleries in Tehran and Dubai from 2009 to 2019, statistically assessing the index of changes over this period and calculating the variations, particularly during the years of intensified sanctions. The study indicates how the propensity of galleries for a digitally networked economy is becoming a solution to reduce the impacts of the sanctions in order for the galleries to maintain their clientele of international collectors and dealers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
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Article
Economic Freedom and Inequality in the Art Market: The Case of the Commercial Gallery
Arts 2020, 9(4), 126; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts9040126 - 08 Dec 2020
Viewed by 639
Abstract
This article aims to consider the contemporary art market vis-à-vis the concept of economic freedom. Drawn from a larger study, this paper offers a glimpse of the political function of the art market, which is essentially an economic field. What I demonstrate is [...] Read more.
This article aims to consider the contemporary art market vis-à-vis the concept of economic freedom. Drawn from a larger study, this paper offers a glimpse of the political function of the art market, which is essentially an economic field. What I demonstrate is an inevitable clash between a free market and between political constructions that effect levels of freedom—concentrating on the parameter of inequality. The article focuses on the case of commercial art galleries, and analyzes their operation under neoliberal conditions, which represent the implementation of the idea of freedom in the economic field. Subsequently, I demonstrate the how high levels of concentration in the art market erode the levels of the equality of the players in the field. Ultimately, I argue that this case offers an example of the more general operation of the art market, which follows neoliberal principles, and thereby undermines the concept of economic freedom that is intrinsic to them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Article
The Evolution of a Consolidated Market for Neo-Traditional Chinese Contemporary Art
Arts 2020, 9(4), 121; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts9040121 - 25 Nov 2020
Viewed by 666
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to determine whether there is an incipient market in China strong enough to replace the global market for Chinese contemporary art. The (informal) market I have identified supports traditional methods of transaction and practice. It charts a [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to determine whether there is an incipient market in China strong enough to replace the global market for Chinese contemporary art. The (informal) market I have identified supports traditional methods of transaction and practice. It charts a course twixt slavish emulation of the past and unqualified acceptance of the present. To demonstrate the contemporary application of this trend, I introduce three case studies, which examine the attitude and behaviour of three Chinese artists active between 2005 and 2015. This period marks the transformation of China from an aspirant economic power to a self-confident advocate of Chinese values. The premise of this paper is that the China market today is moving towards a harmonious ideal rooted in Chinese thought. In the nineteenth-century art movement known as the Shanghai School, I have found a precedent for the evolutionary transformation of Chinese art from the traditional to the modern. This study will reveal how the Shanghai School market might be an exemplar for today’s Chinese contemporary art market. I will refer to this historical model to show how conventional methods of creation, distribution and consumption can effectively be modernised. Another effort to culturally transform China was attempted a generation later in the southern city of Guangzhou. The movement, known as the Lingnan School, attempted to fuse Western-style realism with Chinese techniques and media. I argue that these two early attempts to amalgamate the traditional with the modern failed to metamorphose into a consolidated Chinese contemporary art market model. They have, instead, resulted in the co-existence of two corrupted models; the one, a diffident fusion of the past and the modern world, and the other a concerted alliance of nationalism and globalism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Article
Freeports and the Hidden Value of Art
Arts 2020, 9(4), 117; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts9040117 - 18 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 957
Abstract
At first glance, the global art trade—currently valued around $60 billion—is a miniscule piece of global economic production. But due to the unregulated nature of the art market, it serves a key function within the larger network of the accumulation and distribution of [...] Read more.
At first glance, the global art trade—currently valued around $60 billion—is a miniscule piece of global economic production. But due to the unregulated nature of the art market, it serves a key function within the larger network of the accumulation and distribution of capital worldwide. This deregulated market intersects with the offshore domain in freeports, an archipelago of tax-free storage facilities that stretch from Singapore to Geneva to Delaware. The burgeoning of freeports globally suggests that speculation has become a more prominent pattern of art investment, but it also demonstrates that tax avoidance is a goal of such speculators and the result is that more art works are being taken out of circulation and deposited in vaults beyond the view of regulatory authorities. Despite its size, the art trade can demonstrate broader trends in international finance and, by examining offshore art storage that occurs in freeports, it will be possible to locate some of the hidden mechanisms that allow the global art market to flourish on the margins of the economy as well as to perceive a shift in which the economic value of art works predominates over their cultural value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Article
Alternative Spaces & Artist Agency in the Art Market
Arts 2020, 9(4), 116; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts9040116 - 10 Nov 2020
Viewed by 785
Abstract
This article explores what alternative, or artist-led, spaces are in Mumbai today and their role within the city’s artworld. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in two alternative spaces, it argues that these are artist attempts to exercise agency in their work for an uncertain [...] Read more.
This article explores what alternative, or artist-led, spaces are in Mumbai today and their role within the city’s artworld. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in two alternative spaces, it argues that these are artist attempts to exercise agency in their work for an uncertain market context. In other words, these spaces are a strategy for artists to exercise control over their work in an uncertain art market, and a means to counterbalance their dependence on galleries in their careers. Furthermore, artists do so through collectivist practices. These spaces, I argue, challenge models of artistic and neoliberal work that privilege autonomy, independence, and isolation, as if artists were self-contained silos of productive creative activity and will. Artists instead, in these spaces, insist on the importance of social bonds and connection as a challenge to the instrumentalization and divisive nature of market-led demands on art practice and the model of the solo genius artist-producer. At the same time, their collective activities are oriented towards supporting artists’ individual future market success, suggesting that artist-led spaces are not separate from the art market, and should be considered within the same analytical frame. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Article
The Periphery Is Beautiful: The Rise of the Portuguese Contemporary Art Market in the 21st Century
Arts 2020, 9(4), 115; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts9040115 - 09 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1226
Abstract
The aim of this article is to characterise the rise of the Portuguese contemporary art market since the beginning of the 21st century, within the broader context of the global contemporary art market. Against a theoretical backdrop of the globalisation of markets for [...] Read more.
The aim of this article is to characterise the rise of the Portuguese contemporary art market since the beginning of the 21st century, within the broader context of the global contemporary art market. Against a theoretical backdrop of the globalisation of markets for contemporary art and the concept of the periphery, I will analyse Lisbon’s art scene as a local phenomenon that is looking for an international recognition. In doing so, I am focusing on two working hypotheses. The first relates to the efforts made by the gallery sector to raise the international profile of its artists, giving them sought-after widespread recognition, which encompasses a historical perspective on the situation and a prominent role for the younger generation of gallerists. The second intends to observe the role played by private collectors and their contributions towards boosting the art scene, assembling their contemporary art collections and making them available to the public. I conclude that this has led to an upsurge in the contemporary art market in connection with the growing number of validating structures, museums, and art centres, due mainly to the fact that the shortcomings of the public sector are being made up for by private initiatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
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Article
Bordeaux vs. Paris: An Alternative Market for Local and Independent Artists?
Arts 2020, 9(4), 114; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts9040114 - 04 Nov 2020
Viewed by 708
Abstract
In 1928, some young artists living in Bordeaux decided to create a local market for contemporary art, as an alternative to the Salon des Amis des Arts of their own city, on the one hand, which they considered retrograde and conservative, and to [...] Read more.
In 1928, some young artists living in Bordeaux decided to create a local market for contemporary art, as an alternative to the Salon des Amis des Arts of their own city, on the one hand, which they considered retrograde and conservative, and to the centralized and centripetal Parisian world on the other. They joined forces to create the group of the “Artistes indépendants bordelais” (AIB) and they organized an annual exhibition in which they could sell their works, in Bordeaux. This article aims to understand the functioning of this so-called “provincial” alternative to Paris and to measure its potential success, both as a market and as an arbiter of taste. The analysis proves that the AIB exhibitions happened to be a semi-failure, since this local initiative could not detach itself from Paris. In order to gain legitimacy, the AIB invited avant-garde painters and sculptors and they left the door open to Parisian dealers and art critics but all these actors, in turn, overshadowed the artists from Bordeaux. This economic and symbolic domination stemmed from the lack of a strong artistic identity for this group, the absence of domestic galleries specializing in contemporary art and the low demographics of Bordeaux collectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
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Article
Inside and Outside the Market for Contemporary Art in Brazil, through the Experience of Artists and Gallerists
Arts 2020, 9(4), 113; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts9040113 - 04 Nov 2020
Viewed by 1174
Abstract
In this paper, I seek to extend our understanding of global art markets by focusing on the relationships between different art world agents and their perceived responsibilities and roles in a market considered locally ‘incipient’ and emergent on the global scene. For this [...] Read more.
In this paper, I seek to extend our understanding of global art markets by focusing on the relationships between different art world agents and their perceived responsibilities and roles in a market considered locally ‘incipient’ and emergent on the global scene. For this purpose, I draw on over 50 interviews with art gallerists, independent art spaces and visual artists represented by them, living in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the two largest clusters of the contemporary art market in Brazil, at a time of market expansion and internationalisation. In an incipient market, two main functions are considered important: Developing the commercial circuit and opening up the market, and; enhancing the value of art in society. Such functions occur against the backdrop of a large and complex country, where the ‘eixo’ (axis) of the main cities offers greater opportunities for visibility and valorization. The findings help to elucidate the perceptions of responsibility and roles in a context of market development, as well as the emerging boundaries between culture and the market. Moreover, the paper explores the emerging dynamics and strategies of art world development as they are enacted, offering insights into how art market actors perceive their roles and responsibilities, as well as the strategies available to them to support market consolidation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Article
Philosophic Money. The Contemporary Art System as a Market and Cultural Agent
Arts 2020, 9(4), 110; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts9040110 - 02 Nov 2020
Viewed by 696
Abstract
Within the contemporary art system complex, constantly-changing cultural features coexist with stratified acts of dealing. The art market operates as a collective mediation structure, developing a multiple agency: financial and economic, educational, political and social. In this article, we offer the result of [...] Read more.
Within the contemporary art system complex, constantly-changing cultural features coexist with stratified acts of dealing. The art market operates as a collective mediation structure, developing a multiple agency: financial and economic, educational, political and social. In this article, we offer the result of an empirical test dedicated to the identification of unseen changes in the informal organizational pattern of the market. Observing the behavior of selected samples, we focused, firstly, on the networks of artists and commercial galleries at the Art Basel fair; and, secondly, on the group and solo shows organized by a relevant sample of international contemporary art museums and exhibitions spaces. These analyses offer an insight into the changes that occurred from 2005 to 2013, encompassing the quantitative growth of the art system infrastructure and the effects of the crisis of 2008. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
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Article
Materialising Markets: The Agency of Auctions in Emergent Art Genres in the Global South
Arts 2020, 9(4), 106; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts9040106 - 18 Oct 2020
Viewed by 680
Abstract
For the last two decades, the international auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s have been at the forefront of global art market expansion. Their world-wide footprints have enabled auction house specialists to engage with emerging artists and aspiring collectors, most notably in the developing [...] Read more.
For the last two decades, the international auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s have been at the forefront of global art market expansion. Their world-wide footprints have enabled auction house specialists to engage with emerging artists and aspiring collectors, most notably in the developing economies of the Global South. By establishing their sales infrastructure in new locales ahead of the traditional mechanisms of primary market commercial galleries, the international auction houses have played a foundational role in the notional construction of new genres of art. However, branding alone is not sufficient to establish these new markets; the auction houses require a network of willing supporters to facilitate and drive marketplace supply and demand, be that trans-locational art market intermediaries, local governments, and/or regional auction businesses. This paper examines emerging art auction markets in three Global South case studies. It elucidates the strategic mechanisms and networks of international and regional art auction houses in the development of specific genres of contemporary art: Hong Kong and ‘Chinese contemporary art’, Singapore and ‘Southeast Asian art’, and Australia and ‘Aboriginal art’. Through examination and comparison of these three markets, this paper draws on research conducted over the past decade to reveal an integral role played by art auctions in the expansion of broader contemporary art world infrastructure in the Global South. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Article
What Does Developing a Ranking of Leading Contemporary Art Galleries Unveil about the Importance of the National Factor? An Analysis of Art Basel Art Fair
Arts 2020, 9(4), 105; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts9040105 - 16 Oct 2020
Viewed by 702
Abstract
Since the French sociologist Raymonde Moulin developed her pioneering research in the 1960s, the art market has been continuously studied by social scientists. For several years now, art market studies have rapidly proliferated. Collectors and collections, though, have tended to draw more attention [...] Read more.
Since the French sociologist Raymonde Moulin developed her pioneering research in the 1960s, the art market has been continuously studied by social scientists. For several years now, art market studies have rapidly proliferated. Collectors and collections, though, have tended to draw more attention than professionals and dealers, which remain less analyzed. In this article, we intend to study the impact of the national factor on the gallery sector by using a ranking of the leading contemporary art galleries in the world that we ourselves developed. Having analyzed the construction of the most significant rankings in the art world that all focus entirely or partly on artists, we decided to create one for contemporary art galleries. The methodology that we used will be presented in the first part of the article. In its second part, we will analyze the territorial/national dimension that can be identified in the most important art fair in the world, Art Basel. We will comment on what is revealed by our ranking in terms of countries of origin associated with their share and diverse positions in the ranking. Finally, we will address the contribution that our ranking brings to the knowledge of so-called globalization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Article
Mythical Islands of Value: Free Ports, Offshore Capitalism, and Art Capital
Arts 2020, 9(4), 100; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts9040100 - 28 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 938
Abstract
The Geneva Free Port in Switzerland has paved the way for a new generation of art and luxury free ports. These are critical spatial pivots for the management of art assets, including storage and transactions of artworks, and serve as proxy to examine [...] Read more.
The Geneva Free Port in Switzerland has paved the way for a new generation of art and luxury free ports. These are critical spatial pivots for the management of art assets, including storage and transactions of artworks, and serve as proxy to examine mechanisms for the capture and generation of value, integral but also outside the global art market. Drawing from the trajectory of the Geneva Free Port and an interdisciplinary body of scholarship on “offshore” and other special zones of production, and value circulation in human geography, anthropology, history, and sociology, this article frames free ports in a longer genealogy of offshore capitalism. First, we claim that the emergence of the Geneva Free Port prefigures and helps illuminate contemporary transformations in offshore capitalism; second, these spaces are more deeply imbricated with public and state authorities than previously suggested. Finally, a holistic understanding of art capital—works of art for investment and asset management—requires an encompassing view of free ports not as accidental and exceptional features in the world of high art but as spaces deeply implicated in the creation and operation of the art market more generally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
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Article
A Freeport Comes to Luxembourg, or, Why Those Wishing to Hide Assets Purchase Fine Art
Arts 2020, 9(3), 87; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/arts9030087 - 09 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1561
Abstract
This article addresses how global art markets are becoming an outlet of choice for those wishing to hide assets. Recent efforts by the OECD and the U.S. Treasury have made it more difficult for people to avoid taxes by taking money “offshore”. These [...] Read more.
This article addresses how global art markets are becoming an outlet of choice for those wishing to hide assets. Recent efforts by the OECD and the U.S. Treasury have made it more difficult for people to avoid taxes by taking money “offshore”. These efforts, however, do not cover physical assets such as fine art. Citing data collected in Luxembourg—a jurisdiction angling to become a worldwide leader in “art finance”—I discuss the characteristics of this emerging system of opaque economic activity. The first of these is a “freeport”, a luxurious and securitized warehouse where investors can store, buy, and sell art tax free with minimal oversight. The second element points to the work of art-finance professionals, who issue loans using fine art as collateral and develop “art funds” linked to the market value of certain artworks. The final elements cover lax scrutiny by enforcement authorities as well as the secrecy techniques typically on offer in offshore centers. Combining these elements in jurisdictions such as Luxembourg can make mobile and secret the vast wealth stored in fine art. I end the article by asking whether artworks linked to freeports and opaque financial products have become the contemporary version of the numbered Swiss bank account or the suitcase full of cash. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
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