Call for Papers: Arts Special Issue — Art Markets and Digital Histories

Arts Special Issue: Art Markets and Digital Histories

Deadline: Jun 15, 2018

A Special Issue of Arts will investigate the promises and pitfalls of current digital methods in studying the history of art markets. New technologies are becoming integral to research in the humanities and social sciences and this invites a reflection on the use of these methods and techniques in art market studies. Our aim is to explore the different strategies that scholars employ to navigate and negotiate digital techniques and data sources, particularly when combining different datasets and types. Furthermore, the wealth of digitized historical data on objects and agents in art markets is rapidly expanding, and this data is increasingly published as Linked Open Data. Two recent historiographical trends make the use of Linked Data particularly relevant to art market studies.

First of all, the history of art markets has since long been studied through economic, social, and cultural lenses. While some scholars opt for the one or the other, others try to integrate them through the topics of, for instance, intermediaries, market mediation, and valuation processes. Open access to digital assets from art museums, archives, and libraries provide the opportunity, in the form of linked data and combined sources, to test cross-overs between research domains and thereby expand our understanding of art markets as socio-cultural as well as economic phenomena. But translating the promise of Linked Data into actual conceptual leaps in the field requires careful design of data models and methodologies.

The second trend also concerns the boundaries of the art market, but on a spatial level. The geographical reach of historical art market studies has been extended beyond Europe and the United States to include Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Australia. At the same time, scholars have developed increasing interest on themes such as cross-border trade and networks, global vs. national vs. local, and migration and mobility patterns. In theory, digitization and linked data provide excellent opportunities for advanced cross-border and comparative analyses, but in practice it has proven difficult to systematically link or compare data across borders and languages.

For this issue, we seek contributions that present a historical research question relevant to art market studies. We are particularly interested in contributions that reach out to other domains (be they time, place, or societal), and that place emphasis on combining and using multiple sources or data types (linked or not linked). There are no limitations as to place or time, as long as the papers are explicit on their research processes with regards to data, techniques and methods. Continue reading “Call for Papers: Arts Special Issue — Art Markets and Digital Histories”

New Book: Iain Robertson, Understanding Art Markets (Routledge, 2016)

Iain Robertson, Understanding Art Markets. Inside the World of Art and Business (Routledge, 2016)

red book cover with Uncle Sam, Napoleon, etc. Book by Iain Robertson called 'Understanding Art Markets'

This recently published textbook integrates, updates and enhances the author’s previous books, Understanding International Art Markets (2005) and The Art Business (2008). Part I (’Technical and Structural Mechanisms’), looks at defining issues such as underlying legal and ethical questions or the structure of commodity markets. The book’s central section (Part II, ’The Markets for Art’) surveys the structures of today’s art markets – notably those for old masters, impressionist, modern and contemporary art – but also provides fascinating vistas of the art markets of previous centuries. Part II also includes an illuminating chapter on Chinese Art – a must read for those wishing to gain a better understanding of the underlying values that define the art market in China today. Finally, part III considers ‚external factors‘ such as aspects of art investment, or the roles of the state and the museums. ‚In claiming that the international art market reflects us, Iain Roberson holds up a mirror every bit as beguiling as Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray‘ (Alistair Hicks, Author of The Global Art Compass: New Directions in 21st Century Art). – Iain Robertson is Head of Art Business Studies at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and a TIAMSA member.