Noah Horowitz


On his book Art of the Deal: Contemporary Art in a Global Financial Market

Cover Interview of October 02, 2011


Bridging the language gap between the artistic and economic is absolutely huge.

The art market has expanded wondrously in recent years and there’s more writing on, and interest in, the business of art than ever before.  And yet the discourse on it hasn’t quite kept pace.

The quality of economic research on the art market is improving but its full valence is still constrained by some of the qualifications mentioned above.  Gossipy insider accounts prevail.  And many on the critical Left continue to hold the market in contempt.

While I can certainly appreciate these tendencies, we also need to move beyond them—to adequately address why investing in art may sound sexy and lucrative in the abstract but is incredibly difficult to pull off in practice, how today’s multidisciplinary artists fund their careers, and what are the many opportunities and challenges these pose to collectors of contemporary art.

Black and white polarities, arguably captured most famously in sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s writings on High and Low culture in avant-garde Paris, are increasingly a thing of the past.  Art of the Deal will have achieved its goal if it pushes the envelope on this front and enables audiences on all sides to have a better appreciation of their own positions and a clearer perspective on the overall art market debate.

To this end, I also hope that my book acts as a toolbox for future scholars, critics, and thinkers.  Art of the Deal brings a wide range of ideas to the table, from finance theory to intellectual property law and relational aesthetics—and there is a lot left to do, to position these concepts in within today’s trade.

And lastly, a lot has changed since the book’s concluding analysis of the bursting of the art market bubble in 2008-09: 2010 was a record period for the auction houses and a boom mentality is brewing again.  These rapidly shifting tides are ripe for further commentary and I hope that some of the ideas that come together at the end of my book (about the role of art market cycles and developing trends in museums, galleries and online) provide a solid sounding board for new reflections to come.