Institutional Changes of the Arts in NYC before and after WWII

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 11:30
Location: Hörsaal 14 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Hideaki SASAJIMA, Osaka City University, Japan
Why did New York City become an art center after the second world war? European cities, especially Paris, had taken significantly important roles in global art worlds in the early part of 20th century. Yet, after the “triumph of the American painting”(Sandler 1976) including Abstract Expressionism, the situation had changed. This paper explores the transformation of global art worlds, especially focusing on the institutional changes of art production in New York City before and after the second world war.

Existing studies have dealt with art worlds in New York City (Crane 1989; Zukin 1982; Velthuis 2006), but they did not focus closely on the institutional issues of art production and transformations. Examining the causal mechanisms of the institutional change in New York City is important, because it allows us to figure out historical and urban spatial factors that lead to current global art worlds.As the sociology of arts has researched institutional and organizational issues of art production (Becker 1982; DiMaggio & Hirsh 1976; Peterson 1976), this paper particularly utilizes the idea of “institutional changes” (White & White 1967) and analyzes the changes of social relationships among art galleries, cultural policies and artist communities. As for methods, I have utilized the archival materials of art galleries, public policies and artists.

Before the second world war, there were weak art markets and public support in New York City and so the main players of art production and consumption were patrician elites and local avant-garde artists. After the war, several factors had changed the situation. The emergence of abstract expressionism made primary markets expand and the public and private funding systems were initiated. During these processes, the new middle class joined the art worlds and the institution of art production and consumption became complicated.