Journal article

Collectors, Investors and Speculators: Gatekeeper use of audience categories in the art market

Erica Coslor, Brett Crawford, Andrew Leyshon

Organization Studies | SAGE Publications | Published : 2020


This research examines gatekeepers’ categorization work to assess and sort audience members. Using a multi-sited ethnography and interpretivist qualitative lens, we explore how high-value art gallerists sort buyers via categories, but also encourage conformity with preferred audience categories, both for artistic consecration goals and to discourage disruptive speculation. Categories served as reference points, with preferred and problematic buyer categories providing a discursive socialization tool, but also informing gatekeeping strategies, for example, problematic behaviors and buyer categories led to value-protecting gatekeeping and exclusion, often justified in moral terms. Monitoring c..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. Research was funded by the American Philosophical Society, University of Chicago Overseas Dissertation Fund, University of Chicago Nicholson Center for British Studies, University of Chicago Markovitz fellowship and University of Melbourne Faculty of Business and Economics. Sotheby's Institute of Art, London, graciously allowed several weeks reviewing their Master's dissertations. This paper has benefitted from comments from both editors and peer reviewers, including Douglas Creed, Cynthia Hardy, Sylvie Honig, Ed Hyatt, Melissa Kew, Brandon Lee, Steve Maguire, Yuval Millo, Michael O'Hare, Peter Frumkin, and Edward Lynch-Bell, with copyediting by Emma Nichols and Joel Barnes.