Accepted paper:

"Everyone can be a collector": contemporary art scenes in Istanbul

Authors:

Danila Mayer (University of Applied Sciences St. Poelten)

Paper short abstract:

Anthropological approaches to the art market are tested with new data from Istanbul. In this boom-town of contemporary art in the wake of the Istanbul Bienal, contemporary art has become a lifestyle marker in a goldrush economy.

Paper long abstract:

Anthropological approaches to the art market are tested in this paper. Fresh data from Istanbul - boom-town of contemporary art in the wake of the corporate-funded Istanbul Bienal - are presented. Several interviews with relevant players in Istanbul's contemporary art scenes are tried against Andrea Fraser's analysis that not a country's wealth, but the difference in wealth furthers the art market. Istanbul's contemporary art scenes are dominated by large family holdings, who run museums and art schools as well. Numerous visitors flock to blockbuster shows, and love to be "seen and scene" at the Modern Café. Turkish Contemporary, a label for some years now, is auctioned at Sotheby's London, and an office has already been established in Turkey's prime city - a further homogenization of the global market-place is advanced. As both old and new elites compete for promising works, contemporary art has become a lifestyle marker in a quickly developing goldrush economy. The contribution will explore: - Which functions of distinction does collecting of contemporary art provide, and for whom? - How is this demand fuelled? and - Which structures cater to those new demands?

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