Prof. Alain Quemin (Université Paris-VIII)
Local: sala 109 - Evaristo de Moraes Filho – térreo do IFCS UFRJ
(Largo de São Francisco, centro)
The Superstars of Contemporary Art : Globalization, Institutional Visibility and Economic Success on the Market
Today, rankings have become major players of the contemporary art world and market. Everyone wants to know who is “hot”, what artists are important and rankings play a major role in objectivizing these positions occupied by the different artists – or even works!- or other players of the art world such as gallerists, collectors, curators, etc. In this presentation, we will briefly analyze two indigenous rankings of contemporary artists, the Kunstkompass and the Artfacts ranking, that try and objectivize the visibility of living contemporary artists. Then, both indicators will be used in order to illustrate the impact of nationality and country of residence on the success of contemporary artists. We will see that, apart from the fact that the Kunstkompass presents a bias that benefits German artists, those indicators, although their methodologies are very distinct, show very similar results in terms of national concentration of artists. Then, these first results will be compared to those that can be obtained when economic success on the market is considered, be it auctions in general through Artprice data or prestige auction sales organized by Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
Although for more than two decades the ideology of globalization through the mixing of different cultures and the alleged erasure of national borders has been very popular in the contemporary art world, our analysis tends to unveil a very different reality. The international contemporary art world remains very territorialized and hierarchized in terms of countries. Empirical survey shows that the contemporary art world mostly covers a very limited number of Western countries among which Germany and even more, the USA, play an absolutely central role.
A specialist of the sociology of contemporary art, Alain Quemin is a full professor (exceptional class) of sociology of art at université Paris-VIII in France and an honorary member of Institut Universitaire de France. He is a former president and a present vice-president of the sociology of art research committee of the International Sociological Association. He is a specialist on the sociology of art markets. His present work focuses on the impact of globalisation on art markets and institutions, and on the social construction of artistic success and consecration. He also works on the sociology of works of art, on the sociology of visitor studies, and on the sociology of fashion. Alain Quemin was an invited professor or researcher for several weeks or months at Columbia University and the New School for Social Research in New York, at UCLA (USA), at the London School of Economics (UK), at université de Montréal (Canada), at Bologna university (Italy), at universitat de Barcelona (Spain) and at Unicamp (Brazil). He published in several journals including Les Annales ESC, l’Année sociologique, International Sociology and European Societies. His most recent book is: Les stars de l’art contemporain. Notoriété et consécration artistiques dans les arts visuels, Paris, éditions du CNRS, 2013, 458 p.