Olav Velthuis | University of Amsterdam | Engines of isomorphism. Why art fairs look the same around the world

Ringvorlesung | Kunstmessen ↔ Kunstmarkt │ Art Fairs ↔ Art Market | 24.10.2019 | Lecture

“According to Art Basel’s Art Market Report, the number of international art fairs has increased from 55 in 2000 to almost 300 last year. With their large number of cramped, white booths, most of these fairs look strikingly similar. In this lecture I explore the reasons why. One often-heard explanation is that art fairs are the most efficient organizational form for addressing current needs of contemporary art worlds. Building on the work of the classical sociologist Max Weber I argue that this is at best part of the answer. Isomorphism at art fairs should instead be seen in the light of power dynamics within global art worlds, mimetic behavior and socialization processes among art professionals. Empirically I will draw on research conducted in the emerging art worlds of Brazil, Russia, India and China.”

Since 2017 Olav Velthuis is Professor, Dept. of Sociology, at the University of Amsterdam.

Universität zu Köln | Hörsaalgebäude | Hörsaal E | 17.45 (s.t.)

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