Contextualizing Art Markets: Bloomsbury Academic

I am the series editor of Contextualizing Art Markets for Bloomsbury Academic. This series presents new, original research that reconceives the scope and function of art markets throughout history by examining them in the context of broader institutional practices, knowledge networks, social structures, collecting activities, and creative strategies. In many cases, art market activities have been studied in isolation from broader themes within art history, a trend that has tended to stifle exchange across disciplinary boundaries. Contextualizing Art Markets seeks to foster increased dialogue between art historians, artists, curators, economists, gallerists, and other market professionals by contextualizing art markets around the world within wider art historical discourses and institutional practices.

Discover recent publications in the series on Bloomsbury’s webpage.

Editorial Board:
Véronique Chagnon-Burke, Christie’s Education, USA
Christel H. Force, Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA
Charlotte Galloway, Australian National University, Australia
Mel Jordan, Royal College of Art, UK
Alain Quemin, Université Paris-8, France
Mark Westgarth, University of Leeds, UK

Please contact me at k.j.brown[@] if you are interested in submitting a book proposal for the series.

My recent publications and presentations on art market themes include:

‘Screen Culture, Online Auctions and Art Market Spectacle’ in Visual Studies, May 2021.

This article examines the symbolic, financial, and visual qualities of spectacular, multi-site, online art auctions staged by Sotheby’s and Christie’s during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is argued that these events adopted visual techniques drawn from television gameshows and popular cinema culture to create a distinctive screen-based reality for the transaction of art assets. Much of the rhetoric employed by the auction houses to publicize online auctions suggested a utopian conception of technology capable of encouraging artistic innovation and broadening access to art markets. In contrast to the idea that these online formats constitute democratic change in the artworld, this article argues that the control of new technological infrastructures represents an extension of institutional power and maintains the socio-cultural elitism of urban centres in which physical art auctions at the top end of the market have traditionally been conducted.

Museums and Art Markets

The special issue that I edited for the Journal of Visual Art Practice (Vol. 19, Issue 3, October 2020) contains my Introduction (‘When Museums Meet Markets‘) and my article: ‘Disappearing Acts: Fictitious Capital, Aesthetic Atheism, and the Artworld).

Interview with Elif Bereketli for Showcase (TRT World) about artists’ online sales strategies and the possible changes these imply for the art market (October 2020).

‘Modernist Market Making: The Case of Henri ‘Le Douanier’ Rousseau’, Association for Art History, Birmingham, UK, 2021.

Member of Scientific Committee: The Art Market and the Museum, The International Art Market Studies Association, Edinburgh 2021.

Special Issue: Journal for Art Market Studies: Politics. Vol 3, no. 1, 2019.

“Private Influence, Public Goods and the Future of Art History”, Journal for Art Market Studies. Vol. 3, no. 1, 2019.

‘Making History: Museums and Markets in a Globalized Art World’, Art Talks, Abu Dhabi Art Fair, 2018.

Session Convenor: “Mapping Female Associational Life in the Visual Arts”, Christie’s, New York, “Celebrating Female Agency in the Arts“, June, 2018.

Public v Private Art Collections: Who Owns our Cultural Heritage, The Conversation, August 11 2017

‘The Privatization of Public Museum Culture and the Future of Art History’, presentation at The Global Power of Private Museums: Arts and Publics – States and Markets, Berlin, November 16–18, 2017.

Patrimony and Patronage: Collecting and Exhibiting Contemporary Art in France’, presentation at  Collecting and Public Display: Art Markets and Museums, University of Leeds, 30–31 March, 2017.

‘Collecting, Consuming, and Creating: Debunking Myths of Taste Making in the Contemporary Artworld’, Christie’s, London, July, 2016.

‘The Art Market as a Knowledge Economy’, Conference on ‘Art Market Studies: Art History’s Salvation or Doom’, Christie’s, New York, April, 2015.

Christie’s, New York, “Celebrating Female Agency in the Arts”. Photograph by Dave Proctor.