Course 2021-2022 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.)

Class-group lessons delivered  on campus

Suggested background knowledge

No specific knowledge prerequisite are requred a part from a strong interest in visual contemporary arts and heritages.

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 has been deeply affected by the consequences of pandemic and the connected technological uprise. Therefore a multiplicity of opportunities and challenges has been created together with 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:

  1. 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.  
  2. One dedicated to an in-depth analysis of the structure and functioning of the art world, with a focus on the labour market and professions and on artistic practices and research. A dense program of Guest Speakers (comprising Art Institutions and Exhibition Centres, Art Schools, Auction Houses, Contemporary Artists) enrich this part.  
  3. One dedicated to exploring recent evolutions of the roles and weight of commercial actors and emerging global trends. The third is dedicated to the collective reading of a specific piece of art criticism

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...

This course is fit for highly motivated students willing to acquire a professional and competitive edge in the area of Arts management. The objective of the workshop is twofold:

  • To help advanced students 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.
  • To 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
  • Online lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Company visits
  • Individual assignments


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 the faculty, consistently with the overall health conditions.

Assessment methods

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


  1. Individual assignmentThe 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 count for 40% of the final evaluation. The assignment and the final exam certificate the development of a critical capacity defined as the candidate independency in choosing and understanding criticism, history and theories, and unfolding personal written statement.
  2. Final exam. The final exam is a written test: 2 questions out of three on the historical and theoretic topics developed in the course Materials:
    • The reading list provided by the teacher.
    • Teacher’s slides and notes.


Non-attending students are evaluated through a written exam (3 questions out of 4) 120 minutes on the following texts (ALL AVAILABLE AT THE BOCCONI LIBRARY):

  • Lind M., Velthuis O. (2012) Contemporary art and its commercial market. A report on current condition and future scenario. Sternberg, Berlin.
  • Velthuis O., Baia Curioni S. (2015), Cosmopolitan canvases, Oxford University Press.
  • Karpik L. (2010) Valuing the Unique. The Economics of Singularities, Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford, 2010.

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. LIND, 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 24/12/2021 12:37