Collecting Contemporary Art

Project: Research

Project Details


Amidst cultural, political and economic globalisation, a major shift from long-term cultural values to short-term economic values has been induced in the contemporary art market. The art market becomes a unique point of investigation to discuss the relationship between art and money. Central to the discussion is the role of the art collector and the act of collecting contemporary art, which directly influences the construction of value and grants in-depth analysis of the long-standing ‘art versus commerce’ debate. The financial value of a work of art affects the career of the artist and the status of the artist as celebrity, which in turn influence the cultural value of art. A collector-centric approach is employed to discuss the dynamics of brand and branding of the celebrity artist. Orientating these issues around the collector becomes a first step towards demonstrating concrete ways in which a brand is positioned and perceived as legitimate, and the challenges during this process in all political, social, cultural and financial arenas.

The research analyses value and branding in domains that remain undeveloped in the art marketing scholarship and sets out to fill an empirical gap in the current literature where little attention has been paid to the contemporary art collector. Primary research on this otherwise difficult-to-access group will contribute to a better understanding of the collector’s relationship to art and artists, and their role in the construction of value and brand.

The research capitalises a significant network of contacts that operate in key art hubs and markets in Europe and North America. Primary data is collected through a mixture of qualitative methods, such as semi-structured interviews with collectors, participant observation and anecdotal personal experience of the researcher as an art advisor. In addition to the interview data, the profile of the interviewees is also analysed.
Effective start/end date23/09/1925/09/23


  • Collector
  • Value
  • Brand
  • Celebrity
  • Money
  • Art Market