The Market

From Whitechapel: Documents of Contemporary Art

The Market

Edited by Natasha Degen

With Ian Farr

Critical and creative responses to the global art market's influence on issues of value, patronage, institutional power, and public agency.





Critical and creative responses to the global art market's influence on issues of value, patronage, institutional power, and public agency.

Transnational markets hold sway over all aspects of contemporary culture, and that has transformed the environment of recent art, blurring the previously discrete realms of price and value, capital and creativity. Artists have responded not only critically but imaginatively to the many issues this raises, including the treatment of artworks as analogous to capital goods, the assertion that art's value is best measured by the market, and the notion that art and money share an internal logic. Some artists have investigated the market's pressures on creative democracy, its ubiquity, vulgarity, and fetishizing force, while others have embraced the creative possibilities the market offers. And for a decade curators and theorists have speculated on the implications of this new symbiosis between art and money, cultural and economic value. Drawing on a wide range of interdisciplinary sources, in dialogue with artists' writings, this anthology traces the historic origins of these debates in different versions of modernism and surveys the relationships among art, value, and price; the evolution and influence of patronage; the actors and institutions of the art market; and the diversity of artistic practices that either criticize or embrace the conditions of the contemporary market.

Artists surveyed include Carl Andre, Michael Asher, Fia Backström, Joseph Beuys, Ian Burn, Maurizio Cattelan, Elmgreen & Dragset, Andrea Fraser, Melanie Gilligan, Dan Graham, Guerrilla Girls, Andreas Gursky, Hans Haacke, Damien Hirst, Christian Jankowski, Yves Klein, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Louise Lawler, Les Levine, Liu Ding, Lee Lozano, Takashi Murakami, Ahmet Ögüt, Tino Sehgal, Richard Serra, Nedko Solakov, Andy Warhol, Fred Wilson and Zhou Tiehai.

Writers include Theodor Adorno, Jack Bankowsky, Jean Baudrillard, Luc Boltanski, Pierre Bourdieu, Martin Braathen, Malcolm Bull, JJ Charlesworth, Eve Chiapello, Sophie Cras, Anthony Davies, Thierry de Duve, Marvin Elkoff, Simon Ford, Hal Foster, Peter Fuller, William Grampp, Josh Greenfeld, Michel Houellebecq, Miwon Kwon, Kate Linker, Lü Peng, Ursula Pasero, Scott Rothkopf, Peter Schjeldahl, Thomas Seelig, Marc Shell, Georg Simmel, Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Wolfgang Ullrich, Karen van den Berg, Thorstein Veblen, Olav Velthuis, Dorothea von Hantelmann, Tom Wolfe and Thomas Zaunschirm.


$24.95 T ISBN: 9780262519670 240 pp. | 5.75 in x 8.25 in

Not for sale in Europe or the UK.


Natasha Degen

Natasha Degen has taught at Cass Business School, City University, London and Sotheby's Institute of Art, and has contributed to publications including Artforum, frieze, Art in America, the Financial Times, the New York Times and Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art.


Ian Farr.


  • An invaluable resource which not only analyses and unpicks the origins and evolution of today's all-pervasive art market behemoth, but also offers an array of perspectives on its highly vexed relationship to notions of value and its impact on artistic practice. Mandatory - if somewhat disquieting - reading for all sectors of the art world and especially artists!

    Louisa Buck

    Contemporary art correspondent, The Art Newspaper

  • An excellent, essential anthology, which is both a good read and a useful teaching tool.

    Sarah Thornton

    author of Seven Days in the Art World.

  • If the market forms the horizon of our thought, it becomes a crucial—perhaps the crucial—subject for art. Through a series of diverse voices, tellingly juxtaposed, Natasha Degen's compelling and interdisciplinary collection examines the art world's immersion in market values.

    Julian Stallabrass

    Professor in Art History, Courtauld Institute, London