Artistic Valuation and Growth in the Creative Economy

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: Booth 57
Oral Presentation
Michael HUTTER , Cultural Sources of Newness, WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Berlin, Germany
Highly elaborate valuation practices enable judgments of value on unique, constantly new artistic creations. They combine collaborative and contentious processes of agreement on aesthetic qualities with market exchanges of original works, measured in monetary units. This particular hybrid structure is an institutionally grown, historical accomplishment that fosters future growth in the consumption of aesthetic experiences.

Section 1 of the paper develops the theoretical argument, based on Luc Boltanski's "sociology of critique", Luc Karpik's "economy of singularities" and my own work on "familiar surprises". Section 2 demonstrates, in four historical vignettes, the slow historical development of judgment practices in the Visual Arts. Section 3 contrasts contemporary practices in the global art scene and its high-end market with recent online aggregations of common opinion in the creative industries, particularly OCRs (Online Consumer Reviews). Section 4 argues that both developments make it possible that total value generated by products of the global aesthetic experience economy will continue to grow.