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High Art Down Home

An Economic Ethnography of a Local Art Market

How do artists, collectors, dealers, and curators whose lives and livelihoods are so intimately affected by the valuation of art manage to cope with such an intangible market?

To answer this question, Stuart Plattner eschews the spotlights and media-hype of glitzy New York galleries, and focuses instead upon the more localized, and much more typical, world of the St. Louis art scene. What emerges is the most comprehensive description ever published of a contemporary regional avant-garde center, where noble aesthetic ambitions compete with the exigencies of economic survival. Plattner’s skillful use of in-depth interviews enables the market’s key participants to speak for themselves, giving voice to the many frustrations and rewards, motivations and constraints that influence their interactions with their work, the market, and each other.

"Plattner analyzes the social and economic factors that govern art markets outside the long shadow cast by chic New York galleries. An insightful and fascinating work."—Library Journal

"Explains much about the conundrums and paradoxes of the art world as a whole."—Eddie Silva, Riverfront Times

264 pages | 11 halftones, 3 line drawings, 1 map | 6 x 9 | © 1996

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Art: Art--General Studies

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1: Introduction
2: The Rise of the Modern Art Market
3: The St. Louis Metropolitan Area
4: Artists
5: Dealers
6: Collectors
7: Conclusion
App. 1: Glossary of Art Speech
App. 2: A Note on Art and Craft
App. 3: Art as Investment
App. 4: The Influence of the Japanese on Auction Prices
App. 5: Statistical Comparisons among the Largest Metropolitan Areas
App. 6: Art in America and Local Gallery Guide Listings
App. 7: Secondary Skills Necessary for a Professional Artist
App. 8: Gender and Teaching Positions

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