This book provides a new history of the changing relationship between art, craft and industry focusing on the transition from workshop to studio, apprentice to pupil, guild to gallery and artisan to artist. Responding to the question whether the artist is a relic of the feudal mode of production or is a commodity producer corresponding to the capitalist mode of cultural production, this inquiry reveals, instead, that the history of the formation of art as distinct from handicraft, commerce and industry can be traced back to the dissolution of the dual system of guild and court. This history needs to be revisited in order to rethink the categories of aesthetic labour, attractive labour, alienated labour, nonalienated labour and unwaged labour that shape the modern and contemporary politics of work in art.
Speculation as a Mode of Production: Forms of Value Subjectivity in Art and Capital, Marina Vishmidt offers a new perspective on one of the main categories of capitalist life in the historical present. Writing not under the shadow but in the spirit of Adorno’s negative dialectic, her work pursues speculation through its contested terrains of philosophy, finance, and art, to arrive at the most detailed analysis that we now possess of the role of speculation in the shaping of subjectivity by value relations. Featuring detailed critical discussions of recent tendencies in the artistic representation of labour, and a brilliant reconstruction of the philosophical concept of the speculative from its origins in German Romanticism,
Speculation as a Mode of Production is an essential, widescreen theorisation of capital’s drive to self-expansion, and an urgent corrective to the narrow and one-sided periodisations to which it is most commonly subjected.
Art and Value is the first comprehensive analysis of art's political economy throughout classical, neoclassical and Marxist economics. It provides a critical-historical survey of the theories of art's economic exceptionalism, of art as a merit good, and of the theories of art's commodification, the culture industry and real subsumption.
Key debates on the economics of art, from the high prices artworks fetch at auction, to the controversies over public subsidy of the arts, the 'cost disease' of artistic production, and neoliberal and post-Marxist theories of art's incorporation into capitalism, are examined in detail.
Subjecting mainstream and Marxist theories of art's economics to an exacting critique, the book concludes with a new Marxist theory of art's economic exceptionalism.