This course will examine and investigate the relationship in the contemporary art market and arts’ social, cultural, historical, political and commercial value. Divided into three modules, this course will attempt to familiarize the student with the various facets of the art world, and particularly the art market – firstly, how the value of art is determined in different context, the business and law of buying and selling art, the use of legal and moral censorship to change and control the value of art. The first module deals comprehensively with exploring the different kinds of values placed on artworks and the factors that govern their definition. We talk about the changing value of art with time, and what implications can ‘owning’ art have, beyond a financial asset.
In the second module, we also look into legal aesthetics that govern any creation of and business in items of art. In this relation, we attempt to gain an understanding of the opaque and ‘grey’ art market to study and examine the key structures and relationships in primary and secondary transactions of art. For a better understanding, we will also talk about different kinds of art crimes and their repercussions on the value of the art and artist. By comparing international and national art laws, we underline the essence of some key legal issues relating to the ownership and trading of art through auction and private sales, scope of provenance research as part of the due diligence, agency and relationships, taxation, copyright and other intellectual property issues, artists’ agreements, art management and conservation etc.
In the third module, we draw upon the social influence of art in order to address some of the contemporary and ongoing issues and debates in the art world that can and have affected the representation, censorship of art, cultural preservation and management, which in turn have affected the commercial value of the art. One of the key discussions in this area will draw from the lectures in authenticity and provenance from the previous module, and try to answer the bigger question of repatriation and return of looted art. Through these discussions, we understand how art lends to the political and social narratives of the times and how its value can be extended to manage and influence social and political consciousness.
By the end of the course, students will gain a variety of critical and practical knowledge through which to understand the art business and critique current approaches to artist rights and economic practices in the market.