2 2 127-37 2016

Contemporary art and financialization: Two approaches

Victoria Ivanova

Abstract


This essay identifies two approaches to theorizing the relationship between financialization and contemporary art. The first departs from an analysis of how market logics in non-financial spheres are being transformed to facilitate financial circulation; the other considers valuation practices in financial markets (and those related to derivative instruments in particular) from a socio-cultural perspective. According to the first approach, the contemporary art market is in theory a hostile environment for financialization, although new practices are emerging that are increasing its integration with the financial sphere. The second approach identifies socio- cultural similarities between the logics by which value is extracted, amplified, and distributed through derivative instruments and contemporary art. The two approaches present a discrepancy: on the one hand, contemporary art functions as an impediment to outright financialization because of market opacity; on the other, contemporary art represents a socio- cultural analog to derivative instruments. The essay concludes by setting out the terms for a more holistic understanding of contemporary art’s relationship to financialization, which would enable an integration of its economic and socio-cultural dimensions.

Keywords


Art market, contemporary art, derivatives, financialization, opacity

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References


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