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Arts, Volume 9, Issue 4 (December 2020) – 34 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Votive ibis mummies from Cemetery E at Abydos, Egypt, survive in enormous numbers, representing an extraordinary manifestation of personal piety deposited over an extended time period. The ibis, considered an avatar of Thoth, the god of wisdom and writing, acted as a vessel through which earthly man could communicate with the divine. Forming part of a Special Issue on animals in ancient material cultures, this paper explores how archival methods and visual examination, coupled with state-of-the-art scientific techniques, can illuminate our current understanding of the natural environment, religious belief systems, and production technologies in the ancient world. View this paper
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Article
United States Economic Sanctions on Iran and Their Impacts on the Middle Eastern Art Market
Arts 2020, 9(4), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040132 - 18 Dec 2020
Viewed by 849
Abstract
The United States’ sanctions on Iran have limited the Iranian art market’s connections with the international art network. Galleries try to compensate for such limitations through online marketing and exhibition. Thus, the sanctions not only impact the form of marketing exerted by dealers [...] Read more.
The United States’ sanctions on Iran have limited the Iranian art market’s connections with the international art network. Galleries try to compensate for such limitations through online marketing and exhibition. Thus, the sanctions not only impact the form of marketing exerted by dealers but also directly influence the type of artistic production. Such changes also reshape the art market in the Arab states. The transition from tangible to intangible has become a strategy for the regional market to bypass the sanctions and develop business with the global collectors and institutions. A quantitative analysis was used to demonstrate the impact of the sanctions on the art market in Iran and the United Arab Emirates. This analysis examined all exhibitions in 12 commercial galleries in Tehran and Dubai from 2009 to 2019, statistically assessing the index of changes over this period and calculating the variations, particularly during the years of intensified sanctions. The study indicates how the propensity of galleries for a digitally networked economy is becoming a solution to reduce the impacts of the sanctions in order for the galleries to maintain their clientele of international collectors and dealers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
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Article
The Force Is Strong with This One (but Not That One): What Makes a Successful Star Wars Video Game Adaptation?
Arts 2020, 9(4), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040131 - 16 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1290
Abstract
The Star Wars films have probably spawned more video game adaptations than any other franchise. From the 1982 release of The Empire Strikes Back on the Atari 2600 to 2019’s Jedi: Fallen Order, around one hundred officially licensed Star Wars games have [...] Read more.
The Star Wars films have probably spawned more video game adaptations than any other franchise. From the 1982 release of The Empire Strikes Back on the Atari 2600 to 2019’s Jedi: Fallen Order, around one hundred officially licensed Star Wars games have been published to date. Inevitably, the quality of these adaptations has varied, ranging from timeless classics such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, to such lamentable cash grabs as the Attack of the Clones movie tie-in. But what makes certain ludic adaptations of George Lucas’ space opera more successful than others? To answer this question, the critical response to some of the best-reviewed Star Wars games is analysed here, revealing a number of potential factors to consider, including the audio-visual quality of the games, the attendant story, and aspects of the gameplay. The tension between what constitutes a good game and what makes for a good Star Wars adaptation is also discussed. It is concluded that, while many well-received adaptations share certain characteristics—such as John Williams’ iconic score, a high degree of visual fidelity, and certain mythic story elements—the very best Star Wars games are those which advance the state of the art in video games, while simultaneously evoking something of Lucas’ cinematic saga. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Art of Adaptation in Film and Video Games)
Editorial
Raida Adon: Strangeness, a Conversation between Raida Adon and Dr. Amitai Mendelsohn, Israel Museum’s Senior Curator for Israeli Art
Arts 2020, 9(4), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040130 - 15 Dec 2020
Viewed by 843
Abstract
The artist and actor Raida Adon was born in Acre in 1972 to a family that includes members of all the three religions of this region: Muslims, Christians, and Jews [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radicant Patterns in Israeli Art)
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Article
Poetic Storytelling in Contemporary Photography. Relation to Nature and the Poesis of Everyday Life in Works of Selected Artist in Iceland and Other Nordic Countries
Arts 2020, 9(4), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040129 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1074
Abstract
The past 20 years have seen a shift in Icelandic photography from postmodern aesthetics towards a more phenomenological perspective that explores the relationship between subjective and affective truth on the one hand, and the outside world on the other hand. Rather than telling [...] Read more.
The past 20 years have seen a shift in Icelandic photography from postmodern aesthetics towards a more phenomenological perspective that explores the relationship between subjective and affective truth on the one hand, and the outside world on the other hand. Rather than telling a story about the world as it is or as the photographer wants it to appear, the focus is on communicating with the world, and with the viewer. The photograph is seen as a creative medium that can be used to reflect how we experience and make sense of the world, or how we are and dwell in the world. In this paper, I introduce the theme of poetic storytelling in the context of contemporary photography in Iceland and other Nordic Countries. Poetic storytelling is a term I have been developing to describe a certain lyrical way to use a photograph as a narrative medium in reaction to the climate crisis and to a general lack of relation to oneself and to the world in times of increased acceleration in the society. In my article I analyze works by a few leading Icelandic photographers (Katrín Elvarsdóttir, Heiða Helgadóttir and Hallgerður Hallgrímsdóttir) and put them in context with works by artists from Denmark (Joakim Eskildsen, Christina Capetillo and Astrid Kruse Jensen), Sweden (Helene Schmitz) and Finland (Hertta Kiiski) artists within the frame of poetic storytelling. Poetic storytelling is about a way to use a photograph as a narrative medium in an attempt to grasp a reality which is neither fully objective nor subjective, but rather a bit of both. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emotions and Climate Change in Contemporary Visual Culture)
Article
On a Wing and a Prayer: Ibis Mummies in Material Culture at Abydos
Arts 2020, 9(4), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040128 - 14 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1383
Abstract
The production of millions of artificially mummified animals by the ancient Egyptians is an extraordinary expression of religious piety. Millions of creatures of numerous species were preserved, wrapped in linen and deposited as votive offerings; a means by which the Egyptians communicated with [...] Read more.
The production of millions of artificially mummified animals by the ancient Egyptians is an extraordinary expression of religious piety. Millions of creatures of numerous species were preserved, wrapped in linen and deposited as votive offerings; a means by which the Egyptians communicated with their gods. The treatment of animals in this manner resulted in a wealth of material culture; the excavation and distribution of which formed a widely dispersed collection of artefacts in museum and private collections around the world. Due to ad hoc collection methods and the poorly recorded distribution of animal mummies, many artefacts have unknown or uncertain provenance. Researchers at the University of Manchester identified a group of eight mummies positively attributed to the 1913–1914 excavation season at Abydos, now held in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts. This paper presents the investigation of this discreet group of provenanced mummies through stylistic evaluation of the exterior, and the assessment of the contents and construction techniques employed using clinical radiography. Dating of one mummy places the artefact—and likely that of the whole assemblage—within the Late Period (c.664–332BC). Considering these data enables the mummies to be interpreted as the Egyptians intended; as votive artefacts produced within the sacred landscape at Abydos. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animals in Ancient Material Cultures (vol. 2))
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Article
The House that Lars Built. The Architecture of Transgression
Arts 2020, 9(4), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040127 - 08 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1437
Abstract
This article discusses the motif of the “architecture of transgression”, which is present most implicitly, in Lars von Trier’s The House that Jack Built. The analysis concerns both the construction of cinematic narrative itself and the subtle allusions, inserted in the script, [...] Read more.
This article discusses the motif of the “architecture of transgression”, which is present most implicitly, in Lars von Trier’s The House that Jack Built. The analysis concerns both the construction of cinematic narrative itself and the subtle allusions, inserted in the script, to two architectural metaphors: the Nietzschean (and Jungian) labyrinth and the Heideggerian die Hütte. Von Trier’s film may be read as an oeuvre immersed in literary tradition—from Dante’s Divine Comedy to the modern Bildungsroman—as well as inspired by modern philosophy, particularly George Bataille’s philosophy of transgression, (as expound in his Erotism and his short 1929 essay on Architecture). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Politics)
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Article
Economic Freedom and Inequality in the Art Market: The Case of the Commercial Gallery
Arts 2020, 9(4), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040126 - 08 Dec 2020
Viewed by 727
Abstract
This article aims to consider the contemporary art market vis-à-vis the concept of economic freedom. Drawn from a larger study, this paper offers a glimpse of the political function of the art market, which is essentially an economic field. What I demonstrate is [...] Read more.
This article aims to consider the contemporary art market vis-à-vis the concept of economic freedom. Drawn from a larger study, this paper offers a glimpse of the political function of the art market, which is essentially an economic field. What I demonstrate is an inevitable clash between a free market and between political constructions that effect levels of freedom—concentrating on the parameter of inequality. The article focuses on the case of commercial art galleries, and analyzes their operation under neoliberal conditions, which represent the implementation of the idea of freedom in the economic field. Subsequently, I demonstrate the how high levels of concentration in the art market erode the levels of the equality of the players in the field. Ultimately, I argue that this case offers an example of the more general operation of the art market, which follows neoliberal principles, and thereby undermines the concept of economic freedom that is intrinsic to them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Article
Tale(s) of a Forest—Re-Creation of a Primeval Forest in Three Environmental Narratives
Arts 2020, 9(4), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040125 - 01 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1443
Abstract
We analyze three environmentally conscious works that are concerned with the state of Finnish forests: the documentary film Metsän tarina/Tale of a Forest (2012), the book with the same name (2013) and the series of short documentaries Tarinoita metsästä/Tales [...] Read more.
We analyze three environmentally conscious works that are concerned with the state of Finnish forests: the documentary film Metsän tarina/Tale of a Forest (2012), the book with the same name (2013) and the series of short documentaries Tarinoita metsästä/Tales from the Forest (2013). By combining methods from arts research and ecology, we ask how the narratives adapt material from nature photography. The film and book present mythic stories and old Finnish beliefs about forests. They also contain references to cultural memory. Additionally, the biodiversity on display reflects a conventional practice to exhibit large or charismatic species. However, the ecological message remains only implicit, expressed through aesthetic choices rather than information about natural processes. Overall, we suggest that adaptation in these narratives can be understood as an artistic process of recycling and referencing and as a way to reconnect with cultural memory and nature. As such, it can enhance relationships with nature and awareness of conservation needs. However, we ask whether the past-oriented strategy is a politically effective way to activate a connection with nature in modern Finland, where discussions about environmental problems are closely connected to heated debates about forestry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Art of Adaptation in Film and Video Games)
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Article
The Influence of Political Factors on the Architecture of Ducal Castles Owned by the Griffin Dynasty
Arts 2020, 9(4), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040124 - 01 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1154
Abstract
The subject of the article is an analysis of the ideological and political factors that influenced the architectural transformation of ducal residences which belonged to the Griffin dynasty during the Prussian-German and later Polish rule. The article verifies the scale of this impact [...] Read more.
The subject of the article is an analysis of the ideological and political factors that influenced the architectural transformation of ducal residences which belonged to the Griffin dynasty during the Prussian-German and later Polish rule. The article verifies the scale of this impact and the formal effects of actions taken in the context of the entire Pomeranian Duchy. The research is based on a selected set of ducal castles from the Pomeranian region and uses analytical and comparative methods. In the course of the research, it was possible to confirm the influence of political and ideological factors on the status of the preserved heritage of the Pomeranian Dukes, both on the part of the Prussian-German and Polish authorities. In both cases, these actions were caused by the desire to take over symbolic control over the space after territorial changes. These actions were aimed either at eliminating elements foreign to a given nation and state from the cultural landscape of Pomerania or at their transformation and familiarization. In the process of transforming ducal castles, utility factors also played a significant role in the Prussian-German period, while after 1945 the important factor was the then conservation doctrine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Politics)
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Article
Functions of Landscape in Games—A Theoretical Approach with Case Examples
Arts 2020, 9(4), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040123 - 30 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 802
Abstract
The significance of play in the construction of landscape involving the feedback relationships between social conventions and the individual and between the individual and physical space, contrastingly, has so far received only little scientific attention. Games, however, take on great significance in the [...] Read more.
The significance of play in the construction of landscape involving the feedback relationships between social conventions and the individual and between the individual and physical space, contrastingly, has so far received only little scientific attention. Games, however, take on great significance in the process of socialization in order to introduce the socializing person into the interpretations, valuations, and practices of the social world, which applies correspondingly to landscape. Play is an essential element of comprehending the concept “landscape”. Accordingly, this present essay deals with conceptual considerations of the function of games in relation to the social and individual construction of landscape. The theoretical framing of landscape will be carried out within the theory of the three landscapes, following Karl Popper’s three worlds. This theoretical framing also involves fundamental considerations on the connection between games and landscapes, which will be illustrated in more detail by means of two case examples, i.e., model railroads and pinball landscapes. It is shown that the playful engagement with landscape takes place in two dimensions: On the one hand, role expectations, norms, and values associated with landscape are conveyed, thus providing guidance for individual construction and individual experience of landscape. On the other hand, landscape contingencies can be tested. They address norms of interpretation and evaluation of landscape that are considered as bound together. Moreover, innovations can be tested, which may have been established in the social understanding of landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Applied Arts)
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Article
‘The Time Is out of Joint’: Interactivity and Player Agency in Videogame Adaptations of Hamlet
Arts 2020, 9(4), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040122 - 29 Nov 2020
Viewed by 1452
Abstract
Although Shakespeare and his plays have been a frequent subject of videogame adaptations in the past, these have often been confined to either theatre-making games (which present the staging of Shakespeare plays using the mechanisms of strategy or simulation videogame genres) of education/trivia [...] Read more.
Although Shakespeare and his plays have been a frequent subject of videogame adaptations in the past, these have often been confined to either theatre-making games (which present the staging of Shakespeare plays using the mechanisms of strategy or simulation videogame genres) of education/trivia games that aim to familiarise players with Shakespeare’s texts. While references to Shakespeare abound in videogames, there have been relatively few attempts to directly adapt one of his plays into the form of an interactive videogame narrative, where the player controls one or more of the principal characters and can affect the outcome of the story. This paper will examine four videogame adaptations of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, whose differing approaches to player-agency and interactivity in relation to narrative of the classic play demonstrate the interactive potential of Shakespearean drama. While the player-driven overwriting or rewriting of the classic text may appear irreverent, it is, in each game, dependent on some conception the original play and the past tradition that it represents, which is translated into the contemporary medium of the videogame. This illustrates Jacques Derrida’s contention that the longevity and translatability of Shakespearean texts are due to their ‘spectral’ qualities, in that they allow the past to be re-examined through the lens of the present and vice versa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Art of Adaptation in Film and Video Games)
Article
The Evolution of a Consolidated Market for Neo-Traditional Chinese Contemporary Art
Arts 2020, 9(4), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040121 - 25 Nov 2020
Viewed by 731
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to determine whether there is an incipient market in China strong enough to replace the global market for Chinese contemporary art. The (informal) market I have identified supports traditional methods of transaction and practice. It charts a [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to determine whether there is an incipient market in China strong enough to replace the global market for Chinese contemporary art. The (informal) market I have identified supports traditional methods of transaction and practice. It charts a course twixt slavish emulation of the past and unqualified acceptance of the present. To demonstrate the contemporary application of this trend, I introduce three case studies, which examine the attitude and behaviour of three Chinese artists active between 2005 and 2015. This period marks the transformation of China from an aspirant economic power to a self-confident advocate of Chinese values. The premise of this paper is that the China market today is moving towards a harmonious ideal rooted in Chinese thought. In the nineteenth-century art movement known as the Shanghai School, I have found a precedent for the evolutionary transformation of Chinese art from the traditional to the modern. This study will reveal how the Shanghai School market might be an exemplar for today’s Chinese contemporary art market. I will refer to this historical model to show how conventional methods of creation, distribution and consumption can effectively be modernised. Another effort to culturally transform China was attempted a generation later in the southern city of Guangzhou. The movement, known as the Lingnan School, attempted to fuse Western-style realism with Chinese techniques and media. I argue that these two early attempts to amalgamate the traditional with the modern failed to metamorphose into a consolidated Chinese contemporary art market model. They have, instead, resulted in the co-existence of two corrupted models; the one, a diffident fusion of the past and the modern world, and the other a concerted alliance of nationalism and globalism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Editorial
“Dance and Abstraction” Special Issue Introduction
Arts 2020, 9(4), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040120 - 25 Nov 2020
Viewed by 851
Abstract
In his 2013 book Hating Empire Properly, historian Sunil Agnani helpfully reminds his audience that an emphasis on cultural difference—a perspective that we tend to think of as the postmodern antidote to Enlightenment-era universalizing rhetoric—can in fact be traced back to early [...] Read more.
In his 2013 book Hating Empire Properly, historian Sunil Agnani helpfully reminds his audience that an emphasis on cultural difference—a perspective that we tend to think of as the postmodern antidote to Enlightenment-era universalizing rhetoric—can in fact be traced back to early modern European thought [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dance and Abstraction)
Article
The Balanchine Dilemma: “So-Called Abstraction” and the Rhetoric of Circumvention in Black-and-White Ballets
Arts 2020, 9(4), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040119 - 24 Nov 2020
Viewed by 1449
Abstract
Choreographer George Balanchine was known for rejecting the premise that his ballets were abstract. Yet, a closer look into his comments on abstraction reveals a greater degree of ambivalence toward the concept than previously noticed. His influential words found response in dance critical [...] Read more.
Choreographer George Balanchine was known for rejecting the premise that his ballets were abstract. Yet, a closer look into his comments on abstraction reveals a greater degree of ambivalence toward the concept than previously noticed. His influential words found response in dance critical writing, where the term “abstract” continued to circulate, but was often applied in vague ways, such as “so-called abstraction.” This and other softened terminological variations formed an ambiguous collection of abstractive terms, like a vague word cloud around the dance concept. This article explores abstraction in Balanchine’s particular ballets, and makes a two-fold argument. On the one hand, by emphasizing the visual aspects of Balanchine’s compositions, we may uncover ways to untangle his dilemma about dance abstraction. Visual theories of “semantic abstraction” by Harold Osborne, and of “the gesture of abstraction” by Blake Stimson, may help us to understand the abstractive modes in several of Balanchine’s black-and-white ballets. On the other hand, whether discussed or not, Balanchine’s abstractive gestures have created powerful representational shifts in some cases. In particular, by examining the interracially cast duet from the ballet Agon (1957) as a visual case study, we may see how Balanchine’s rejections of the concept, amplified by critics’ vague terminological invocations of, or silence about, abstractive choreographic gestures, occluded the work’s participation in the discourse of abstraction. Simultaneously, unnoticed yet potent choreographic gestures of semantic abstraction may have promoted whiteness as a normative structure, one that relies on a hegemonic “bodily integrity” (as discussed by Saidiya Hartman). Such an analysis leads to a recognition that Balanchine’s abstraction could have been a subversive form of dissent similar to Kobena Mercer’s concept of “discrepant abstraction.” However, I posit that, as a result of the Balanchine dilemma and its influence, the interlinked gestures of an abstract nature that have not been recognized as such promoted the self-regulative structure identified by Bojana Cvejić as “white harmony.” Ultimately, a more specific and clear application of the term “abstract” in ballet is needed, as it can help to dismantle or disrupt the system of white supremacy operative in dominant ballet structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dance and Abstraction)
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Article
Empathy and Community in the Age of Refugees: Petzold’s Radical Translation of Seghers’ Transit
Arts 2020, 9(4), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040118 - 19 Nov 2020
Viewed by 791
Abstract
Petzold’s film constitutes a radical translation of Seghers’ novel by transforming her tale of political refugees in Vichy France into an existential allegory depicting the fluidity of identities and relationships in a globalized world. The transitory existence of Petzold’s war refugee serves as [...] Read more.
Petzold’s film constitutes a radical translation of Seghers’ novel by transforming her tale of political refugees in Vichy France into an existential allegory depicting the fluidity of identities and relationships in a globalized world. The transitory existence of Petzold’s war refugee serves as an extreme example of the instability of modern life, which allows spectators to identify and empathize with migrants’ unpredictable journeys. Moreover, the director conveys the universality of his protagonist’s story by portraying him as an Everyman bereft of distinctive personality traits, by intermingling the past (Seghers’ plot) with the present (contemporary settings), and by situating his experiences in non-descript, liminal “non-places.” Both thematically and aesthetically, narrative is portrayed as establishing a community in an unstable contemporary world. Like the anti-hero of many modern Bildungsromane, Petzold’s protagonist fails to develop a stable identity and enduring friendships that anchor him in a community, but he creates his own family of listeners through his storytelling. In a similar vein, the film’s voice-over/narrator that bridges the fictional world with that of the audience underscores the film’s (and the novel’s) central theme: in a world of rapid change and mobility, the individual who may not be able to establish a stable identity or relationships, can create, as a narrator, a community of empathic listeners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Art of Adaptation in Film and Video Games)
Article
Freeports and the Hidden Value of Art
Arts 2020, 9(4), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040117 - 18 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1078
Abstract
At first glance, the global art trade—currently valued around $60 billion—is a miniscule piece of global economic production. But due to the unregulated nature of the art market, it serves a key function within the larger network of the accumulation and distribution of [...] Read more.
At first glance, the global art trade—currently valued around $60 billion—is a miniscule piece of global economic production. But due to the unregulated nature of the art market, it serves a key function within the larger network of the accumulation and distribution of capital worldwide. This deregulated market intersects with the offshore domain in freeports, an archipelago of tax-free storage facilities that stretch from Singapore to Geneva to Delaware. The burgeoning of freeports globally suggests that speculation has become a more prominent pattern of art investment, but it also demonstrates that tax avoidance is a goal of such speculators and the result is that more art works are being taken out of circulation and deposited in vaults beyond the view of regulatory authorities. Despite its size, the art trade can demonstrate broader trends in international finance and, by examining offshore art storage that occurs in freeports, it will be possible to locate some of the hidden mechanisms that allow the global art market to flourish on the margins of the economy as well as to perceive a shift in which the economic value of art works predominates over their cultural value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Article
Alternative Spaces & Artist Agency in the Art Market
Arts 2020, 9(4), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040116 - 10 Nov 2020
Viewed by 882
Abstract
This article explores what alternative, or artist-led, spaces are in Mumbai today and their role within the city’s artworld. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in two alternative spaces, it argues that these are artist attempts to exercise agency in their work for an uncertain [...] Read more.
This article explores what alternative, or artist-led, spaces are in Mumbai today and their role within the city’s artworld. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in two alternative spaces, it argues that these are artist attempts to exercise agency in their work for an uncertain market context. In other words, these spaces are a strategy for artists to exercise control over their work in an uncertain art market, and a means to counterbalance their dependence on galleries in their careers. Furthermore, artists do so through collectivist practices. These spaces, I argue, challenge models of artistic and neoliberal work that privilege autonomy, independence, and isolation, as if artists were self-contained silos of productive creative activity and will. Artists instead, in these spaces, insist on the importance of social bonds and connection as a challenge to the instrumentalization and divisive nature of market-led demands on art practice and the model of the solo genius artist-producer. At the same time, their collective activities are oriented towards supporting artists’ individual future market success, suggesting that artist-led spaces are not separate from the art market, and should be considered within the same analytical frame. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Article
The Periphery Is Beautiful: The Rise of the Portuguese Contemporary Art Market in the 21st Century
Arts 2020, 9(4), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040115 - 09 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1341
Abstract
The aim of this article is to characterise the rise of the Portuguese contemporary art market since the beginning of the 21st century, within the broader context of the global contemporary art market. Against a theoretical backdrop of the globalisation of markets for [...] Read more.
The aim of this article is to characterise the rise of the Portuguese contemporary art market since the beginning of the 21st century, within the broader context of the global contemporary art market. Against a theoretical backdrop of the globalisation of markets for contemporary art and the concept of the periphery, I will analyse Lisbon’s art scene as a local phenomenon that is looking for an international recognition. In doing so, I am focusing on two working hypotheses. The first relates to the efforts made by the gallery sector to raise the international profile of its artists, giving them sought-after widespread recognition, which encompasses a historical perspective on the situation and a prominent role for the younger generation of gallerists. The second intends to observe the role played by private collectors and their contributions towards boosting the art scene, assembling their contemporary art collections and making them available to the public. I conclude that this has led to an upsurge in the contemporary art market in connection with the growing number of validating structures, museums, and art centres, due mainly to the fact that the shortcomings of the public sector are being made up for by private initiatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
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Article
Bordeaux vs. Paris: An Alternative Market for Local and Independent Artists?
Arts 2020, 9(4), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040114 - 04 Nov 2020
Viewed by 809
Abstract
In 1928, some young artists living in Bordeaux decided to create a local market for contemporary art, as an alternative to the Salon des Amis des Arts of their own city, on the one hand, which they considered retrograde and conservative, and to [...] Read more.
In 1928, some young artists living in Bordeaux decided to create a local market for contemporary art, as an alternative to the Salon des Amis des Arts of their own city, on the one hand, which they considered retrograde and conservative, and to the centralized and centripetal Parisian world on the other. They joined forces to create the group of the “Artistes indépendants bordelais” (AIB) and they organized an annual exhibition in which they could sell their works, in Bordeaux. This article aims to understand the functioning of this so-called “provincial” alternative to Paris and to measure its potential success, both as a market and as an arbiter of taste. The analysis proves that the AIB exhibitions happened to be a semi-failure, since this local initiative could not detach itself from Paris. In order to gain legitimacy, the AIB invited avant-garde painters and sculptors and they left the door open to Parisian dealers and art critics but all these actors, in turn, overshadowed the artists from Bordeaux. This economic and symbolic domination stemmed from the lack of a strong artistic identity for this group, the absence of domestic galleries specializing in contemporary art and the low demographics of Bordeaux collectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
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Article
Inside and Outside the Market for Contemporary Art in Brazil, through the Experience of Artists and Gallerists
Arts 2020, 9(4), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040113 - 04 Nov 2020
Viewed by 1253
Abstract
In this paper, I seek to extend our understanding of global art markets by focusing on the relationships between different art world agents and their perceived responsibilities and roles in a market considered locally ‘incipient’ and emergent on the global scene. For this [...] Read more.
In this paper, I seek to extend our understanding of global art markets by focusing on the relationships between different art world agents and their perceived responsibilities and roles in a market considered locally ‘incipient’ and emergent on the global scene. For this purpose, I draw on over 50 interviews with art gallerists, independent art spaces and visual artists represented by them, living in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the two largest clusters of the contemporary art market in Brazil, at a time of market expansion and internationalisation. In an incipient market, two main functions are considered important: Developing the commercial circuit and opening up the market, and; enhancing the value of art in society. Such functions occur against the backdrop of a large and complex country, where the ‘eixo’ (axis) of the main cities offers greater opportunities for visibility and valorization. The findings help to elucidate the perceptions of responsibility and roles in a context of market development, as well as the emerging boundaries between culture and the market. Moreover, the paper explores the emerging dynamics and strategies of art world development as they are enacted, offering insights into how art market actors perceive their roles and responsibilities, as well as the strategies available to them to support market consolidation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Article
Readapting Pandemic Premediation and Propaganda: Soderbergh’s Contagion amid COVID-19
Arts 2020, 9(4), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040112 - 03 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1613
Abstract
Steven Soderbergh’s pandemic thriller Contagion (2011) was trending strongly on streaming services in the US in the early days of COVID-19 restrictions, where the fiction took on an unforeseen afterlife amid a real pandemic. In this new context, many viewers and critics reported [...] Read more.
Steven Soderbergh’s pandemic thriller Contagion (2011) was trending strongly on streaming services in the US in the early days of COVID-19 restrictions, where the fiction took on an unforeseen afterlife amid a real pandemic. In this new context, many viewers and critics reported that the film seemed “uncanny,” if not prophetic. Frameworks such as Priscilla Wald’s notion of the “outbreak narrative,” as well Richard Grusin’s “premediation,” may help to theorize this affective experience on the part of viewers. Yet the film was also designed as a public health propaganda film to make people fear and better prepare for pandemics, and the present account works to recover this history. Although the film takes liberties with reality, in particular by proposing an unlikely vaccine-development narrative, Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns consulted prominent scientists and policymakers as they wrote the film, in particular Larry Brilliant and Ian Lipkin. These same scientists were consulted again in March 2020, when an effort spearheaded by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public health reunited the star-studded cast of Contagion, who created at home a series of public health announcement videos that might be thought of as a kind of re-adaptation of the film for the COVID-19 era. These public service announcements touch on key aspects of pandemic experience premediated by the original film, such as social distancing and vaccine development. Yet their very production as “work-from-home” illustrates how the film neglected to address the status of work during a pandemic. Recovering this history via Contagion allows us to rethink the film as a cultural placeholder marking a shift from post-9/11 security politics to the pandemic moment. It also becomes possible to map the cultural meaning of the technologies and practices that have facilitated the pandemic, which shape a new social order dictated by the fears and desires of an emerging work-from-home class. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Art of Adaptation in Film and Video Games)
Article
The Abbey of Saint-Denis and the Coronation of the King of France
Arts 2020, 9(4), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040111 - 02 Nov 2020
Viewed by 771
Abstract
Addressing the coronation issue in France always comes down to talking about Reims, its archbishop, its cathedral, and its Holy Ampulla. If these elements are indeed constitutive of the consecration ceremony, they only became so from the 13th century onwards. Before that, Reims [...] Read more.
Addressing the coronation issue in France always comes down to talking about Reims, its archbishop, its cathedral, and its Holy Ampulla. If these elements are indeed constitutive of the consecration ceremony, they only became so from the 13th century onwards. Before that, Reims had difficulty asserting its alleged prerogative to welcome the consecration’s ceremony. The practice of “festival crowing”, practiced by monarchs to assert their authority, did not indeed help the metropolitan Reims to assert its monopoly. In this context, Saint-Denis sought recognition of his rights to host the royal ceremony. Saint-Denis has always been intimately connected to the monarchy and hosted Pepin the first consecration, Pepin the Short and his heirs, in 754. In the 12th century, Abbot Suger’s arrival at Abbey’s head marked a new impetus for the Abbey in this race for prestige. The Saint-Denis church’s reconstruction and its liturgical organization demonstrate the great project that the Abbey pursued through the hosting of the ceremony’s coronation of the Kings of France. Full article
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Article
Philosophic Money. The Contemporary Art System as a Market and Cultural Agent
Arts 2020, 9(4), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040110 - 02 Nov 2020
Viewed by 809
Abstract
Within the contemporary art system complex, constantly-changing cultural features coexist with stratified acts of dealing. The art market operates as a collective mediation structure, developing a multiple agency: financial and economic, educational, political and social. In this article, we offer the result of [...] Read more.
Within the contemporary art system complex, constantly-changing cultural features coexist with stratified acts of dealing. The art market operates as a collective mediation structure, developing a multiple agency: financial and economic, educational, political and social. In this article, we offer the result of an empirical test dedicated to the identification of unseen changes in the informal organizational pattern of the market. Observing the behavior of selected samples, we focused, firstly, on the networks of artists and commercial galleries at the Art Basel fair; and, secondly, on the group and solo shows organized by a relevant sample of international contemporary art museums and exhibitions spaces. These analyses offer an insight into the changes that occurred from 2005 to 2013, encompassing the quantitative growth of the art system infrastructure and the effects of the crisis of 2008. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
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Article
Between Silences: The Coronation of Portuguese Medieval Kings (12th–14th Centuries)
Arts 2020, 9(4), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040109 - 29 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 659
Abstract
The coronations of Portugal’s first dynasty constitute a complex topic. Approaching the theme requires understanding that an omission of words in written documentation can both affirm and deny possibilities. Likewise, visual documentation, such as illuminations, sculptures and other figurative arts, is scarce, raising [...] Read more.
The coronations of Portugal’s first dynasty constitute a complex topic. Approaching the theme requires understanding that an omission of words in written documentation can both affirm and deny possibilities. Likewise, visual documentation, such as illuminations, sculptures and other figurative arts, is scarce, raising a significant number of questions and thus is not trustworthy as a historical source. For this reason, the study of Portuguese coronations is filled with questions and silences. Art does not testify to these ceremonies, but shows that Portuguese kings valued regalia pertaining to both religious and secular ceremonies affirming their power, and that those insignias were different from those used by French or English kings in the same time period. In this study, I will use art, particularly funerary sculpture, but also objects with iconographic value, to demonstrate how these reflect elements of thought and the emotional pulsar of the various European societies that produced them. Full article
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Article
Translating English Sound Symbolism in Italian Comics: A Corpus-Based Linguistic Analysis across Six Decades (1932–1992)
Arts 2020, 9(4), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040108 - 26 Oct 2020
Viewed by 700
Abstract
Linking interdisciplinarity and multimodality in translation studies, this paper will analyse the diachronic translation of English ideophones in Italian Disney comics. This is achieved thanks to the compiling of a bi-directional corpus of sound symbolic entries spanning six decades (1932–1992)—a corpus that was [...] Read more.
Linking interdisciplinarity and multimodality in translation studies, this paper will analyse the diachronic translation of English ideophones in Italian Disney comics. This is achieved thanks to the compiling of a bi-directional corpus of sound symbolic entries spanning six decades (1932–1992)—a corpus that was created following extensive archival work in various Italian and American libraries between 2014 and 2016. The central aim is to showcase practical examples coming from published comic scripts and to highlight patterns of translation in each of the five different time windows which were chosen according to specific historical, linguistic and cultural vicissitudes taking place in the Italian nation. Overall, the intention is to shed light on an under-developed area of studies that focuses on the cross-linguistical transposition of ideophonic forms in comic books and to pinpoint how greater factors might influence the treatment of such deceptively miniscule elements in the comic books’ pages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section New Media)
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Article
Inverted Worlds, Nocturnal States and Flying Mammals: Bats and Their Symbolic Meaning in Moche Iconography
Arts 2020, 9(4), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040107 - 21 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1028
Abstract
Bats are depicted in various types of media in Central and South America. The Moche of northern Peru portrayed bats in many figurative ceramic vessels in association with themes of sacrifice, elite status and agricultural fertility. Osseous remains of bats in Moche ceremonial [...] Read more.
Bats are depicted in various types of media in Central and South America. The Moche of northern Peru portrayed bats in many figurative ceramic vessels in association with themes of sacrifice, elite status and agricultural fertility. Osseous remains of bats in Moche ceremonial and domestic contexts are rare yet their various representations in visual media highlight Moche fascination with their corporeal form, behaviour and symbolic meaning. By exploring bat imagery in Moche iconography, I argue that the bat formed an important part of Moche categorical schemes of the non-human world. The bat symbolized death and renewal not only for the human body but also for agriculture, society and the cosmos. I contrast folk taxonomies and symbolic classification to interpret the relational role of various species of chiropterans to argue that the nocturnal behaviour of the bat and its symbolic association with the moon and the darkness of the underworld was not a negative sphere to be feared or rejected. Instead, like the representative priestesses of the Late Moche period, bats formed part of a visual repertoire to depict the cycles of destruction and renewal that permitted the cosmological continuation of life within North Coast Moche society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animals in Ancient Material Cultures (vol. 2))
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Article
Materialising Markets: The Agency of Auctions in Emergent Art Genres in the Global South
Arts 2020, 9(4), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040106 - 18 Oct 2020
Viewed by 764
Abstract
For the last two decades, the international auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s have been at the forefront of global art market expansion. Their world-wide footprints have enabled auction house specialists to engage with emerging artists and aspiring collectors, most notably in the developing [...] Read more.
For the last two decades, the international auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s have been at the forefront of global art market expansion. Their world-wide footprints have enabled auction house specialists to engage with emerging artists and aspiring collectors, most notably in the developing economies of the Global South. By establishing their sales infrastructure in new locales ahead of the traditional mechanisms of primary market commercial galleries, the international auction houses have played a foundational role in the notional construction of new genres of art. However, branding alone is not sufficient to establish these new markets; the auction houses require a network of willing supporters to facilitate and drive marketplace supply and demand, be that trans-locational art market intermediaries, local governments, and/or regional auction businesses. This paper examines emerging art auction markets in three Global South case studies. It elucidates the strategic mechanisms and networks of international and regional art auction houses in the development of specific genres of contemporary art: Hong Kong and ‘Chinese contemporary art’, Singapore and ‘Southeast Asian art’, and Australia and ‘Aboriginal art’. Through examination and comparison of these three markets, this paper draws on research conducted over the past decade to reveal an integral role played by art auctions in the expansion of broader contemporary art world infrastructure in the Global South. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Article
What Does Developing a Ranking of Leading Contemporary Art Galleries Unveil about the Importance of the National Factor? An Analysis of Art Basel Art Fair
Arts 2020, 9(4), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040105 - 16 Oct 2020
Viewed by 843
Abstract
Since the French sociologist Raymonde Moulin developed her pioneering research in the 1960s, the art market has been continuously studied by social scientists. For several years now, art market studies have rapidly proliferated. Collectors and collections, though, have tended to draw more attention [...] Read more.
Since the French sociologist Raymonde Moulin developed her pioneering research in the 1960s, the art market has been continuously studied by social scientists. For several years now, art market studies have rapidly proliferated. Collectors and collections, though, have tended to draw more attention than professionals and dealers, which remain less analyzed. In this article, we intend to study the impact of the national factor on the gallery sector by using a ranking of the leading contemporary art galleries in the world that we ourselves developed. Having analyzed the construction of the most significant rankings in the art world that all focus entirely or partly on artists, we decided to create one for contemporary art galleries. The methodology that we used will be presented in the first part of the article. In its second part, we will analyze the territorial/national dimension that can be identified in the most important art fair in the world, Art Basel. We will comment on what is revealed by our ranking in terms of countries of origin associated with their share and diverse positions in the ranking. Finally, we will address the contribution that our ranking brings to the knowledge of so-called globalization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Contemporary Art Market)
Article
Remediating ‘Prufrock’
Arts 2020, 9(4), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040104 - 15 Oct 2020
Viewed by 1106
Abstract
This article examines remediated examples of T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ (1915). Eliot’s innovative dramatic monologue has sustained an enduring inter-media afterlife, mainly because visual artists generally capitalized on the poem’s residual Victorian painterly and semi-narrative qualities. Here I [...] Read more.
This article examines remediated examples of T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ (1915). Eliot’s innovative dramatic monologue has sustained an enduring inter-media afterlife, mainly because visual artists generally capitalized on the poem’s residual Victorian painterly and semi-narrative qualities. Here I look at a wider range of visual forms from old and new media that, for both pedagogic and artistic purposes, remediate the poem’s ekphrastic, semi-narrative and modernist aesthetics: the comic strip, the animated film, the dramatic monologue film, the split-screen video poem and the photographic spatial montage. Together, they demonstrate the dialogic and multi-directional nature of remediation and articulate via inter-media strategies various literary properties and themes (e.g., character, setting, visual motifs, paralysis) of ‘Prufrock’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Art of Adaptation in Film and Video Games)
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Article
Film Adaptation as Experimental Game Design
Arts 2020, 9(4), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040103 - 09 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 954
Abstract
Film adaptation is a popular approach to game design, but it prioritizes blockbuster films and conventional “game-like” qualities of those films, such as shooting, racing, or spatial exploration. This leads to adaptations that tend to use the aesthetics and narratives of films, but [...] Read more.
Film adaptation is a popular approach to game design, but it prioritizes blockbuster films and conventional “game-like” qualities of those films, such as shooting, racing, or spatial exploration. This leads to adaptations that tend to use the aesthetics and narratives of films, but which miss out on potential design explorations of more complex cinematic qualities. In this article, I propose an experimental game design method that prioritizes an unconventional selection of films alongside strict game design constraints to explore tensions and affinities between cinema and videogames. By applying this design method and documenting the process and results, I am able both to present an experimental set of videogame film adaptations, along with potentially generative design and development themes. In the end, the project serves as an illustration of the nature of adaptation itself: a series of pointed compromises between the source and the new work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Art of Adaptation in Film and Video Games)
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