The art world is a unique and perplexing mechanism to navigate. This course will examine the major facets of the art world and breakdown the essential functions—both the power and responsibility—of major auction houses like Christie’s; Museums, large and small; dealers and gallerists; collectors/philanthropists; critics; and the increasingly powerful roles of artist, art advisor, influencer and publicist. While art history surveys provide the important art historical methodologies, this course will explore the environment in which art is created, exhibited, collected, and commercialized.
Gain a comprehensive understanding of the ecosystem of the contemporary art world
Learn about stakeholders and power players in the art world today including artists, collectors, gallerists, curators, critics, and more
Map the institutional structure of the art world by learning about the roles of museums, auction houses, art fairs, and digital spaces
- Introduction to the Ecosystem
- Dealers / Gallerists
- Private Collectors
- Auction Houses
- Art Fairs
- Museums (Directors, Curators & Boards)
- Critics, Publicists & Influencers
- Art Advisors, NFT/Crypto Markets & Other Changing Tides
Veronique Chagnon-Burke, PhD
Independent Scholar, Co-Founder of WADDA [Women Art Dealers Digital Archives]
Throughout her career, Véronique Chagnon-Burke has taught a wide range of subjects in art market studies and art history at Queens College, Parsons School of Design, and Hunter College, among other institutions. Her museum and research positions have included work at the Museum of Modern Art and the College Art Association, and she has also worked at the Hôtel Drouot in Paris. From 2002 to 2021, she was the Director of Christie’s Education in New York, where she also taught the history of the art market.
A specialist in the history of nineteenth century French landscape painting, her fields of expertise also include nineteenth century art criticism and the art market and the role of women in the art world. She received her Ph.D. from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, her M.A. from the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University, and her Licence from the Université Paris-Sorbonne. She is also a graduate of the Ecole du Louvre in museum studies.
Most recently she has been focusing on organizing academic conferences which bring together art history and art market studies, such as Celebrating Female Agency in the Art in June 2018, and Women Art Dealers 1940-1990 in May 2019. Her current collaborative project is the Women Art Dealers Digital Archive (WADDA), a digital platform that maps the role women art dealers played in the institutionalization of modern and contemporary art. She is one of the editors of an upcoming book Women Art Dealers, Makers of the Modern Art Market, 1940-1990, to be published by Bloomsbury in 2023. She is founding member of the New York chapter of The International Art Market Studies Association [TIAMSA] and a section editor for the upcoming Art Market Dictionary to be published by De Gruyter, in Berlin in 2021.
“The Market for Contemporary Art,” Grove Art Dictionary (2018)'
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Session 1: Introduction to the Ecosystem
In this initial session, we’ll focus on introductions, initial questions and establishing a broad overview to the ecosystem and the entities that will be introduced in greater depth in subsequent weeks.
Session 2: Artists
In this session, we’ll examine the ‘role’ of the artist within the art world ecosystem. We’ll explore artistic fame historically– myths, cult of personalities, etc, that led certain artists to become more well-known than others. We’ll explore the difference between critical reception and market success, as well as how/why artists’ perceived ‘power’ within the art world has grown in recent years.
Session 3: Dealers / Gallerists
In this session, we’ll explore the emergence of the ‘gallerist’ in the 19th century and the importance of figures like Durand-Ruel, Ambroise Vollard, and others in marketing impressionism and modernism to America. We’ll then explore how the role evolved in the 20th century with masterminds like Leo Castelli, and later Larry Gagosian, ultimately giving way to the age of the mega gallery and the closure of many midsize galleries.
Session 4: Private Collectors
In this session, we’ll explore the role art patronage has played historically (the Catholic Church in Italy, the various monarchs in much of Europe, etc.), as well as key 20th century collectors (Peggy Guggenheim, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Isabella Stewart Gardner, and others) who left an indelible impact on the arts through their collecting and philanthropy. We’ll explore the role of the collector today, and the power of people to shape markets for young and emerging artists.
Session 5: Auction Houses
In this session, we’ll look at the increasing dominance of auction houses in the art market – which houses are dominant, who the power players are within each house, the hierarchy of regional and thematic focuses, recent auction results/news/scandals, prominent collections coming to auction soon, etc.
Session 6: Art Fairs
In this session, we’ll examine the role of the art fair in the art market and how that has evolved from the advent of the first fair in 1969. We’ll define and discuss regional art fairs (Seattle Art Fair, Dallas Art Fair, etc.); specialized/thematic art fairs (Outside Art Fair, 1:54); and of course, global art fairs (Art Basel, Frieze).
Session 7: Museums (Directors, Curators & Boards)
In this session, we’ll look at the contemporary art museum – its role in shaping the Modernist Canon (MoMA) and its waning, but still important participation, in anointing the next generation of art world stars. We’ll discuss some of the major issues facing museums today such as an aging donor base; criticisms over performative diversity, equity and inclusion programs; protests against the perceived ‘dirty money’ of board members like the Sacklers, Warren Kanders, and the Russian oligarchs, as well as corporate sponsors like BP.
Session 8: Critics, Publicists & Influencers
In this session, we’ll learn about the important critics who shaped the modernist canon; the importance of critics like Roberta Smith in ascribing language to Minimalism and subsequent movements; and the changing field – indeed what many believe to be the decline—of arts journalism. We’ll also explore the rising importance of social media influencers in the art world, in shaping public interest in artists, as well as the increasing power of the publicist in shaping the narrative/messaging around the arts.
Session 9: Art Advisors, NFT/Crypto Markets & Other Changing Tides
In this session, we’ll explore the new prominence of the art advisor in the art market, as well as the advent of the NFT marketplace. We’ll discuss any remaining questions from previous sessions and speculate together about changing tides and new trends we are observed in the art world.
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About Livestream Courses
All virtual courses are delivered over Zoom with high quality sound & video. There will be an interactive Q & A with the academic as well as time for a group discussion through the lecture.
Recordings will be available to watch with unlimited playback for 14 days. Registrants will receive the viewing link following the class.
For any queries about this course please contact
New York Courses Department
+1 212 355 1501