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Course 2023-2024 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31

ACME (6 credits - II sem. - OBS  |  SECS-P/07)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Synchronous Blended: Lessons in synchronous mode in the classroom (for a maximum of one hour per credit in remote mode)

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 course Contemporary Art Markets and Systems, Global Economics will tackle the current market dynamics by looking at commercial actors and their challenges. Parallelly, the course will also offer a seminar-based session aimed at exposing the students to contemporary global debates on art critique and curatorial issues.


The course addresses the institutional perspective on the development of the art system (actors, gatekeepers, auction, prices, professions etc.) and the art market. This section integrates an historical background with the analysis of the main transformations of the field. The course carries on an overview of the composition the Art World, with a focus on key actors, professions and on artistic practices and research. This session will also address relevant topics influencing the debate on the Art System.


The course will be enriched by a program of Guest Speakers, allowing the students to dialogue

with relevant professionals of the art market field.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
At the end of the course student will be able to...

know the historical evolution of the modern / contemporary art system from the transition XIX / XX century to the present time.

understand the mail  pattern and logic of value creation in  the visual art system (dealer / critic - dealer / collectors - artists /collectors) and the premises of the formation  of a global and local art system.

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

have a professional understanding of the basic art market and art system languages and logics.

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

The course is designed in order to create opportunities for a “high pressure” knowledge

transfer from the instructors to the class, through a methodology that implies active participation,

involvement in specific research and assessments, dialogue with relevant actors of the system.

The students are also expected to develop their personal vision about their professional future

in the field.

This course is fit for highly motivated students willing to acquire a professional and competitive

edge in the area of Arts management.

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

    Attending students

    The evaluation will consist of:

    a) Individual assignment

    The individual assignment will be developed on the themes and issues of the course and its

    topic must be decided with the lecturers, through specific bibliographies.

    The individual assignment will count for 50% of the final evaluation.


    Deadline: the individual assignment must be sent via email to the Teaching Assistant within the

    date of the exam.

    Essay structure: MAX length 5 pages, Font size 12, Line Spacing 1, Margins 2 cm. Bibliography

    and / or Appendix (images or other resources you feel relevant to include in the essay) must be

    listed after the text and are excluded from the 5 pages count.

    Students can choose which reference style to use but are required to be consistent with your



    b) Final exam

    The final exam will be a written, closed-book test: two questions out of three on

    topics developed in class.

    The exam will be based on the teacher’s slides and notes and on a reading list that will be

    provided by the teacher in the detailed Course Handbook.

    The exam will count for 50% of the final evaluation.

    Final exams: 17/05/2021 and 10/06/2021.

    The attending status is valid only for the first two sessions


    Non-attending students will be evaluated through a written exam.

    Exam Structure: Students will be asked to answer to 2 questions out of 3 in 120 minutes.

    Teaching materials

    Attending students

    - Teacher’s slide and notes

    - Guest lectures notes

    - Reading list


    Reading list for attending students will be provided in the detailed Course Handbook.


    Reading list for attending students will be provided in the detailed Course Handbook.

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