CFP: Special Issue of Arts on the Contemporary Art Market (December 2020)

Zona Maco, Mexico City 2015 Photo: Mauricio Alejo Courtesy: Zona Maco

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.

Abstract deadline: 15 May 2020

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 ( 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