The Modern and Contemporary Art Market, 1863 - Present


The modern and contemporary art market is a strange and irrational entity, seemingly ungoverned by traditional economic laws of supply and demand. In 2019, Rabbit, a sculpture by Jeff Koons, sold for $91.1 million at auction, setting a record for the most expensive artwork by a living artist ever sold. A few months later, at the Art Basel Miami Beach art fair, Maurizio Cattelan's Comedian, an installation artwork featuring a fresh banana duct-taped to a wall, sold for $120,000. More than just a source for headlines, today's art market is also a growing art historical subfield, one that offers crucial insight into artistic production, shifts in the sociopolitical landscape, and even the practice of art history itself. This course offers a historical overview of the modern and contemporary art market, from 1863 to the present. In this thematic survey, students will chart the art market's development by examining key concepts, personalities, and events, including the 1863 Paris Salon des Refus├ęs, the Galerie Durand-Ruel and Impressionism, the avant-garde myth, Nazi-era art crime, the 1997 Sensation exhibition, and international biennials. Students will also become acquainted with basic art market research methods and resources. Prerequisites: Any 100- or 200-level course in art history; L01 215, Intro to Modern Art, recommended; or permission of instructor.
Course Attributes: FA AH; BU Hum; AS HUM; FA HUM; AR HUM; EN H

Section 01

The Modern and Contemporary Art Market, 1863 - Present - 01
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