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Art and Value – Museum Collections as Commons

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A Review of Art and Value: Art’s Economic Exceptionalism in Classical, Neoclassical and Marxist Economics by Dave Beech

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Art and Value: Art’s Economic Exceptionalism in Classical, Neoclassical and Marxist Economics reveals the irreconcilable differences between the Marxist economic definition of the term ‘value’ and its other uses in relation to the art object. It corrects the faulty assumption, symptomatic of a capitalist worldview, that rare or historic objects bear intrinsic value. Beech’s analysis of art’s value-form is critical to unpacking the double ontological condition of art as both an object of collective symbolic value and as a hoard of monetary value, since the two operate in mutually exclusive spheres, yet function to constitute one another. The book can help us understand the capitalist sleight of hand that allows art to flicker between two forms of being, making profit appear as value, and value appear as significance (and vice versa), the toggling between the two facilitating the transfer of commonly-held symbolic value in support of the individual accumulation of wealth.

Affiliations: 1: School of Art, College of the Arts, California State University Long Beach nizan.shaked@csulb.edu

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1. Bernes Jasper, Spaulding Daniel 2016"‘Truly Extraordinary’" Radical PhilosophyVol 195 51 54 available at: <http://www.radicalphilosophy.com/wp-content/files_mf/rp195_review_bernesandspaulding_beech_artandvalue.pdf>
2. Davis Ann E. 2012"‘The New “Voodoo Economics”: Fetishism and the Public/Private Divide’" Review of Radical Political EconomicsVol 45 1 42 58 [Crossref]
3. Dolan Matthew 2014"‘In Detroit Bankruptcy, Art Was Key to the Deal’" The Wall Street Journal 7 November available at: <http://www.wsj.com/articles/in-detroit-bankruptcy-art-was-key-to-the-deal-1415384308>
4. Graw Isabelle 2010 High Price: Art Between the Market and Celebrity Culture New York Sternberg Press
5. Harrison Charles 1984"‘The Late Sixties in London and Elsewhere’" 1965–1972, When Attitudes Became Form Cambridge/Edinburgh Kettle’s Yard and The Fruitmarket Galleries
6. Haug Wolfgang Fritz, Fracchia Joseph 2009"‘Immaterial Labour’" Historical MaterialismVol 17 4 177 185 [Crossref]
7. Krauss Rosalind 1990"‘The Cultural Logic of the Late Capitalist Museum’" OctoberVol 54 3 17 [Crossref]
8. Lütticken Sven 2016"‘The Coming Exception: Art and the Crisis of Value’" New Left ReviewVol II 99 111 136
9. Marx Karl 1959 [1894] Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume III Engels Frederick London Lawrence and Wishart
10. O’Donnell Nicholas 2014"‘A Trust for The Benefit of the Public Is Not “The Public Trust” – The Deaccessioning Debate and the Detroit Institute of Arts’" The Art Law Report 4 June available at: <http://www.artlawreport.com/2014/06/04/a-trust-for-the-benefit-of-the-public-is-not-the-public-trust-the-deaccessioning-debate-and-of-the-detroit-institute-of-arts/>
11. Smith John 2016 Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation, and Capitalism’s Final Crisis New York Monthly Review Press
12. Velthuis Olav 2013 Talking Prices: Symbolic Meanings of Prices on the Market for Contemporary Art Princeton, NJ. Princeton University Press
13. Wikström Josefine 2015"‘Art’s Economic Exceptionalism’" Mute 12 November available at: <http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/art%E2%80%99s-economic-exceptionalism>
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/content/journals/10.1163/1569206x-12341551
2017-02-14
2018-06-24

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