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Course 2018-2019 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31

ACME (10 credits - II sem. - OBS  |  SECS-P/07)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Mission & Content Summary

In the last ten years, the contemporary art world has been transformed from a small, relatively stable system into a complex, semi-industrial sector in which financial political, economic, urban and social interests move at a pace that was even unthinkable only two decades ago. The interaction of these dynamics produces rapid changes in a system whose roles have been historically defined around a “small world” of galleries, collectors, dealers, institutions, and which has been polarized around few dominant urban scenes (New York, Paris, London and in the last part of 20th century, Berlin). These changes imply a multiplicity of opportunities, the appearance of new landscapes for new professionals, and also a number of dead ends. The process involves entrepreneurial opportunities but also raises deep cultural challenges. The workshop Arts Management and Markets addresses all these issues opening the major in Arts and Heritage Management.


The course is divided in three sections:

  • One dedicated to the institutional, perspective on the development of the art system (actors, gatekeepers, auction, prices, professions etc) and the art market. This section is separated into an introduction that integrates an historical perspective with the analysis of the main transformations of the field and into a final part that develops a direct contact with people that operate in the field at different levels. The teacher is Stefano Baia Curioni.
  • One dedicated to an in-depth analysis of the structure and functioning of the art world, with a focus on the recent evolutions of the roles and weight of commercial actors and emerging global trends.
  • The third, curated by Francesca Recchia, is dedicated to the collective reading of a specific piece of art criticism.

The teaching activity is completed by a section devoted to the illustration and analysis, through a case study, of the career trajectory of a contemporary artist and critic.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Refine their specific profile of arts managers, consistently with the international job market needs expressed by galleries, dealers, auction houses, exhibition spaces, collectors and artists.
  • Develop cultural mediation and cultural entrepreneurship capabilities in the perspective of a professional experience strongly characterized by the motivation and the specific understanding of the field, as by the active and entrepreneurial integration in a fast changing and highly internationalized system.
At the end of the course student will be able to...

The course aims at combining managerial and entrepreneurial skills with critical, sociological and historical awareness, focusing on the task of cooperating with artists and art production systems.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Company visits

The course is based on an intensive use of meetings with experts and actors in the field, looking for the opportunity to create a direct relationship between the students and some of the main decision makers of the global art system like directors of the main auctions houses, directors of the main fairs, galleries, artists, dealers etc. These presences are complemented by other relevant activities such as The Permanent Opening programme that consists of side activities (gallery visits, studio visits, participation to openings and workshops) that is selected on a monthly bases by Francesca Leonardi.

Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •     x
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  •     x

    The evaluation for attending students consists of:

    • Individual assignment. The individual assignment (max 5 pages) is developed on the arguments of the course - decided with the tutors and the lecturers, through specific bibliographies. The individual assignment counts for 40% of the final evaluation. Central Mandatory Reading: R. KUSHER, The Flamethrowers, Scribner, 2013 (avalaible at Egea).
    • Final exam. The final exam is a written test: two questions out of three on the historical and theoretic topics developed in the course. Materials: the reading list provided by the teacher and teacher’s slides and notes.

    Non-attending students are evaluated through a written exam (3 questions out of 4) 120 minutes.

    Teaching materials

    Sociology - Foundational studies on the art system and markets:

    • H. BECKER, Arts Worlds, Berkeley UP, 1988.
    • R. MOULIN, L'Artiste et le marché, Flammarion, Paris, 1992. 
    • P. BOURDIEU, The Rules of Art. Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field, Stanford University Press, 1996. 
    • N. LUHMANN, Art as a Social System, Stanford University Press, 2000 (originally published in German in 1995, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp Verlag) (Chapter 4: 'The Function of Art and the Differentiation of the Art System', pp 133‐184).
    • L. KARPIK, Valuing the Unique. The Economics of Singularities, Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford, 2010.


    • L.R. LIPPARD, Six  Years;  the  Dematerialization of the  Art Object  from  1966 to 1972, Los  Angeles, University  of  California Press, Berkeley, 1973. 
    • S.D. HOBBS, The end of the American Avant Garde, New York, New York University Press, 1997. 
    • A. ALBERRO, Conceptual Art and the  Politics of Publicity, Massachusetts Institute  of  Technology, 2003.
    • N. DE MARCHI, H.J. VAN MIEGROET, The History of Art Markets ‐ in V.A. GINSBURGH, D. THROSBY (eds), in Handbook of the economics of art and culture, Amsterdam,  Elsevier/North Holland, 2006 ‐ pp. 69‐116, 2006.
    • S. RICHARD, Unconcealed: The International Network of Conceptual Artists 1967-1977, London, Ridinghouse, 2009.


    • R. HARRIS, The Great Debate About Art, Chicago, Prickly Paradigm Press, 2010.
    • A.C. DANTO, The Artworld, Journal of Philosophy, 61, pp. 571‐584, 1964.
    • A.C. DANTO, After the End of Art.  Contemporary  Art and the Pale of History,  Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1997. 
    • G. DICKIE, Art  and  the  Aesthetics.  An Institutional Analysis, Ithaca, Cornell University press, 1974.
    • G. DICKIE, The Institutional Theory of Art, in N. CARROL, (ed.) Theories of Art Today, 2000.

    Economics /management:

    • C. GOODWIN, Art and Cuture in the History of Economic Thought, in D. THORBY, V. GINSBURGH (eds), Handbook of the economics of art and culture, Amsterdam, Elsevier/North Holland, 2006, pp 3‐24.
    • V. GINSBURGH, J. MEI, M. MOSES, The computation of Prices indices ‐ in D. THORSBY, V. GINSBURGH, (eds), Handbook of the economics of art and culture, Amsterdam, Elsevier/North Holland, 2006, pp 947‐974.
    • C. WILDE,  The intrinsic value of a Work of Art.

    List of readings:

    • M. LINF, O. VELTHUS, Contemporary art and its commercial market. A report on current condition and future scenario, Berlin, Sternberg, 2012.
    • O. VELTHUIS, S. BAIA CURIONI, Global canvases, Oxford University Press, 2015. 
    • L. KARPIK, Valuing the Unique. The Economics of Singularities, Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford, 2010.
    Last change 30/06/2018 23:20