- The art world of cosmopolitan collectors: In relation to mediators, institutions and producers
- Award date
- 9 September 2015
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Heritage and Memory Studies (AHM)
This research addresses transformations and processes that have formed the conduct of international collectors of contemporary art, as of the end of the 20th century till 2014. Using the distinction theory of Pierre Bourdieu as a guideline this study shows that distinction processes evolve not only around taste itself but around collectors’ activities: the manner in which they acquire and sell art, their position distribution channels, the presentation of their collections and their attitude toward the moral codes of the art market. Collectors are the driving force of the growth of the current market of contemporary art, which appeared to be the most popular art collectible. Reasons of this popularity have been many: the artistic qualities of today’s contemporary art, the social field this art produces and the financial and speculative potential it offers that respond well to collectors' lifestyle. This study demonstrates that despite forthcoming globalization processes the collectors’ power has been concentrated in North America and Western Europe. When building their collections, collectors operate in the art market and in the sphere of culture, which interests are often considered as incommensurable and which therefore require different codes of behavior. The art market appeared to use ethics of collecting to navigate collectors’ behavior in order to keep the current system of distribution of art works intact. The study addresses as well collectors’ relationship with public institutions and their preferences when choosing artists for their collections. Contemporary collectors follow in the footsteps of earlier collectors; what distinguishes their social world from the past is that the art world has become larger and faster, more popular and easily accessible.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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