Politics and art have throughout history, intersected in diverse and complex ways. Ideologies and political systems have used the arts to create a certain image and, depending on the form of government this has varied from clear-cut state propaganda, to patronage, to more indirect arms-length funding procedures. Therefore, artists working within the macro-level socio-political context cannot help but be influenced, inspired and sometimes restricted by these policies and political influences. This article examines the contemporary art markets of two emerging, Socialist economies to investigate the relationship between state politics and the contemporary visual arts market. We argue that the respective governments and art worlds are trying to construct a brand narrative for their nations, but that these discourses are often at cross-purposes. In doing so, we illustrate that it is impossible to separate a consideration of the artwork from the macro-level context in which it is produced, distributed, and consumed.
- Emerging and transitioning markets