Book Chapter

Hostile Worlds and Questionable Speculation: Recognizing the Plurality of Views About Art and the Market

E Coslor

Economic Action in Theory and Practice: Anthropological Investigations | Research in economic anthropology | Emerald Group Publishing Limited | Published : 2010


The “hostile worlds” view argues that money corrupts the meaning of art, but some suggest this is a dated concept in describing the art market. Instead of dismissing this view, this paper argues that we need a typology of beliefs about art, money and commensuration; what could be understood as a pluralist understanding. Based on ethnographic research on the high-end contemporary art market in New York and London, I find that collectors, investors and art world experts often have different views about the relationship between art and money. This recognition is significant because art is a symbolic good with assigned, rather than intrinsic value, meaning that the value of art can be damaged fo..

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University of Melbourne Researchers