Financialization of Art

21 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2013

See all articles by Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor

Department of Religion, Columbia University

Date Written: January 28, 2013


Art and money have always been inseparable. During the past several decades, however, this relationship has been transformed by a new form of capitalism - finance capitalism, which has been made possible by the networking of new information, media and communication technologies. This is a genuinely novel phenomenon whose global impact has become undeniable. In previous forms of capitalism (agriculture, industrial and consumer), people made money by buying and selling labor and material goods; in finance capitalism, by contrast, wealth is created through the circulation of signs backed only by other signs. The structure and development of financial markets mirror each other. As art becomes a progressively abstract play of nonreferential signs, abstract financial instruments increasingly create an autonomous sphere of circulation whose end is nothing other than the endless proliferation of monetary and financial signs. When the art of finance becomes the finance of art, art is no longer merely a commodity to be bought and sold, but becomes the currency of exchange fabricated for hedge funds and private equity funds, where it is traded like any other financial asset.

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Suggested Citation

Taylor, Mark, Financialization of Art (January 28, 2013). Capitalism and Society, Vol. 6, Issue 2, Article 3, 2011, Available at SSRN:

Mark Taylor (Contact Author)

Department of Religion, Columbia University ( email )

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New York, NY 10027
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