Category Archives: Art

Objective Value in Markets

I have written about the experiment going on at Significant Objects before. They buy things at garage sales and thrift stores, make up stories about the objects, and then sell these objects on eBay, with the stories attached as the objects’ descriptions. The premise is that “the object should — according to our hypothesis — […]

quantitative commensuration

Part of my talk this coming week is a criticism of the turn from commensuration to quantification. In particular, one of the striking comparisons between (auction) art markets and financial capital markets is the extent to which art specialists decry quantification. As specialists gain more experience, they are more willing to say that their valuations […]

Valuing art, performativity style

One of the more interesting notions in the social studies of finance over the past decade has been the idea of performativity. Discussions about the concept abound, both online and off – (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)….and the list goes on. I’m only pointing at a very few of the pieces. In art, the […]

thinking, thinking, thinking

A work of art seems to be a hardier breed; it can be sold in the market and still emerge a work of art. but if it is true that in the essential commerce of art a gift is carried by the work from the artist to his audience, if I am right to say […]

Contemporary art, content, prices

There is a wonderful discussion of the subtle differences between modern/contemporary figurative artists over at Illustration Art. Figurative art in this case being nudes (so if you are offended by high art nudes, move on). The crux of the issue is the difference between Adrian Gottlieb and Job Currin. The former artist is, arguably, technically […]

Float like a (dead) butterfly, sting like a (dead) shark

At the onset and height of financial crisis, Damien Hirst has done something interesting. There is a series of Times articles (thanks Carol Vogel for doing the heavy lifting) about the anticipation towards, and outcomes from, Hirst’s “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever” sale at Sotheby’s London. The sale was significant for a few reasons. First, […]

Takashi Murakami and Burned Art

Jennifer Lena and I have a new video up, a continuation of our conversation about the relationship between cultural value and monetary value. We’re talking about devaluation, specifically burned art – in the high art and pop art worlds. And we’re circling around a discussion of spheres/circuits/arenas of value. Burned Art and Murakami from Peter […]

Why didn't this work?

Remember the KLF? Sure you do. British? 80s-90s? Hrm. Well, they created a foundation for promotion of avant garde arts, and as part of this they burned a million quid of their own money. Here is the documentary, in 6 parts. The burning is in part 2: part 1 part 2 part 3 part 4 […]

Social Science as Art

First, look at this post and tell us what you think. Second, here are some lovely physical representations of graphical social data. As sculpture. Of course, I would not necessarily trust the social science chops of an artist (when I ran the numbers, it looked more like: But even with the faulty peaks and valleys, […]

Will you remember me?

In an otherwise interesting article on the Chinese Art market explosion (in the upcoming issue of ARTnews), Barbara Pollack sneaks in this line: With the sheer abundance of galleries, auction houses, and art fairs in Chine, the larger art world is recognizing the power of the Asian market. Standing in an auction house in New […]