CfP: Art Market & Modern Art Works

Papers are invited from around the world for contributions to the special issue 1 (January-march) 2006 of the Austrian Journal for Historical Studies (Österreichische Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaften: ÖZG), Ed. by Peter Melichar and Alexander Mejstrik

“Art Market: Production, Circulation and Reception of Modern Art Works”

Art markets are not just places where artists, art dealers, and collectors meet and transact. They do not simply mediate exchanges and structure communication. Art markets also shape styles and tastes, engender different concepts of artistic production, inform legal regulations and proliferate knowledge on artists, art, art works, collectors, and museums.

Debates about art have always been crucially influenced by a wide range of different agents defined by and themselves defining art fields. Such agents are museum directors, art scholars, critics, journalists, politicians, various art and museum associations, artists’ unions, academics (in particular art historians, philosophers, theologians, jurists and sociologists), and, finally, the general public. Collectively, these agents generate the value and significance of art works: be it as good or bad art, and real art or not really art. They agree that what they focus on is art, exactly by disagreeing on what art should be in particular. As a starting point for social and cultural science research, art markets can be viewed as structured sets of different practices (including ‘discourses’ as well as ‘actions’, and ‘behaviour’) that engender what is called art.

Contributions to the ÖZG issue should elaborate or contradict this open approach and framework by presenting concrete examples and research. The discussion will not be reserved to particular academic disciplines. Contributions from scholars in sociology as well as history, economy, art history, ethnology etc. will be accepted. Proposed articles neither have to confine themselves to any particular theory or definition of art, nor they have to deal with a certain historical period, and specific geographical place. Contributions which focus on theoretical problems are explicitly invited - provided they avoid purely esthetical or philosophical reasoning and discuss their topic by means of empirically constructed research objects.

Contributions might use the following issues or perspectives as a point of departure for their general analyses and concrete examples:

Relationships between several agents of art fields

Rather than dealing with individual actors (such as artists, collectors, critics, different publics, authorities, dilettanti, curators, gallerists, dealers, academics, scholars, theoreticians etc.), the relationship between different agents (interactions as well as structural relations) should be examined.

Boundaries of art markets

The historical making of delimitations and oppositions which are constitutive of the structure of art markets, can be examined: art vs. not art, artists vs. non-artists, authorities and professionals vs. dilettanti, l’art-pour-l’art vs. political agency vs. commercial and public success, passion for art vs. disinterest in art.

Beyond the antagonism between internal and external approaches in art-research

Rather than taking for granted the conventional opposition between an esthetic and a historical or sociological approach to art, it should be questioned by means of historical exploration and explanation.

Art markets as multidimensional fields

Art markets are not structured by a single logic of action (be it the logic of esthetics, politics, journalism, or business etc.). They rather imply and integrate various contexts with different social and cultural logics. Contributions could examine and/or compare particular art markets to determine the importance of these different rationalities: e.g. Are art and trade compatible or not? Is there a clear predominance of one rationality or not? etc.

Differentiation and autonomisation of art markets

Contributions may examine the historical conditions for any kind of autonomy of art.

Critical review

We strongly encourage authors whose contributions provide critical reviews of prominent approaches to investigating art markets, e.g. “champ artistique” (Pierre Bourdieu), “art worlds” (Howard Becker).


Weitere Informationen

Please send abstracts of proposed articles (no more than 500 words) to


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