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The Market: Whitechapel Documents Of Contemporary Art Series

Natasha Degen
MIT Press
14.6 × 21 cm
240 pp
Contemporary Art

Transnational markets hold sway over all aspects of contemporary culture, and that has transformed the environment of recent art, blurring the previously discrete realms of price and value, capital and creativity. Artists have responded not only critically but imaginatively to the many issues this raises, including the treatment of artworks as analogous to capital goods, the assertion that art’s value is best measured by the market, and the notion that art and money share an internal logic. Some artists have investigated the market’s pressures on creative democracy, its ubiquity, vulgarity, and fetishizing force, while others have embraced the creative possibilities the market offers. And for a decade curators and theorists have speculated on the implications of this new symbiosis between art and money, cultural and economic value. Drawing on a wide range of interdisciplinary sources, in dialogue with artists’ writings, this anthology traces the historic origins of these debates in different versions of modernism and surveys the relationships among art, value, and price; the evolution and influence of patronage; the actors and institutions of the art market; and the diversity of artistic practices that either criticize or embrace the conditions of the contemporary market.

Artists surveyed include: Carl Andre, Michael Asher, Fia Backström, Joseph Beuys, Ian Burn, Maurizio Cattelan, Elmgreen & Dragset, Andrea Fraser, Melanie Gilligan, Dan Graham, Guerrilla Girls, Andreas Gursky, Hans Haacke, Damien Hirst, Christian Jankowski, Yves Klein, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Louise Lawler, Les Levine, Liu Ding, Lee Lozano, Takashi Murakami, Ahmet Ögüt, Tino Sehgal, Richard Serra, Nedko Solakov, Andy Warhol, Fred Wilson and Zhou Tiehai.

Writers include: Theodor Adorno, Jack Bankowsky, Jean Baudrillard, Luc Boltanski, Pierre Bourdieu, Martin Braathen, Malcolm Bull, JJ Charlesworth, Eve Chiapello, Sophie Cras, Anthony Davies, Thierry de Duve, Marvin Elkoff, Simon Ford, Hal Foster, Peter Fuller, William Grampp, Josh Greenfeld, Michel Houellebecq, Miwon Kwon, Kate Linker, Lü Peng, Ursula Pasero, Scott Rothkopf, Peter Schjeldahl, Thomas Seelig, Marc Shell, Georg Simmel, Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Wolfgang Ullrich, Karen van den Berg, Thorstein Veblen, Olav Velthuis, Dorothea von Hantelmann, Tom Wolfe and Thomas Zaunschirm.

In 2006 London’s famous Whitechapel Gallery and MIT Press formed an editorial alliance to produce a new series of books. Documents of Contemporary Art combines several features that do not often coincide in publishing: affordable paperback prices, good design, and impeccable editorial content. Each volume in the series is a definitive anthology on a particular theme, practice, or concern that is of central significance to contemporary visual culture. The artists and writers included in these books, like the guest editors who conceive them, represent the diversity of perspectives, generations, and voices defining art today.

  1. The Market

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