Art as Property

Phillips, Andrea. 2015. Art as Property. In: Angela Dimitrakaki and Kirsten Lloyd, eds. Economy: Art, Production and the Subject in the 21st Century. 11 Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. ISBN 9781781381380 [Book Section]

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What type of property is a contemporary art object? Clearly it is an object that may be bartered, and in one sense this is how we understand both its status as property and its value. But it is also clear that an art object is usually understood to have value in different ways, ways that differ or displace their value in terms of simple barter. Here I will argue that the ways in which art’s transaction value shifts from one form of contemporary barter (call it exchange value) to another (call it auratic or mystic value) makes it a special kind of property. This is not to mistake the fact that all commodity form barter works within a framework of mysticism and displacement, nor to suggest that the pricelessness of art is totally distinct from other luxury goods that are regularly exchanged for undisclosed (or proxied) sums. But I will argue that art both condenses and mystifies its transaction as property, and as such is inventive of further forms of capital development.

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30 March 2015Published

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01 Jul 2014 16:13

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19 Apr 2016 16:38


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