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Screen culture, online auctions, and art market spectacle

journal contribution
posted on 06.05.2021, 09:16 by Kathryn BrownKathryn Brown
This article examines the symbolic, financial, and visual qualities of spectacular, multi-site, online art auctions staged by Sotheby’s and Christie’s during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is argued that these events adopted visual techniques drawn from television gameshows and popular cinema culture to create a distinctive screen-based reality for the transaction of art assets. Much of the rhetoric employed by the auction houses to publicise online auctions suggested a utopian conception of technology capable of encouraging artistic innovation and broadening access to art markets. In contrast to the idea that these online formats constitute democratic change in the artworld, this article argues that the control of new technological infrastructures represents an extension of institutional power and maintains the socio-cultural elitism of urban centres in which physical art auctions at the top end of the market have traditionally been conducted.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Communication and Media

Published in

Visual Studies

Publisher

Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© International Visual Sociology Association

Publisher statement

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Visual Studies on 04 May 2021, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/1472586X.2021.1915176.

Acceptance date

06/04/2021

Publication date

2021-05-04

Copyright date

2021

ISSN

1472-586X

eISSN

1472-5878

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Kathryn Brown. Deposit date: 5 May 2021

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Categories

Exports