Prizing Art. Art Valuation in the Age of Informational Abundance

Lecture and Workshop with Pierre Pénet (The Graduate Institute of Geneva)
December 5th, 2014

The lecture of Pierre Pénet and the workshop with him will discuss the proliferation of art prizes and awards. Both parts of the event will investigate their implications for artists’ careers and trajectories.

In his lecture, building on the example of the British Turner Prize, Pierre Pénet intends first to provide a qualitative investigation of the key drivers explaining prize institutionalization. Second, he will present the results of a quantitative analysis of the influence of art prizes on auction prices. Overall, he suggests that the market significance of art prizes lies on the purposeful combination of three valuation mechanisms: »brokerage,« »deliberation,« and »institutional labeling.« He will conclude by debating the international dynamics of the prize industry.

The workshop thematizes the relevance of art awards for the production of the value of art, including their symbolic, social and econonomic effects on actors and institutions involved and rewarded. It also will consider and discuss differences in types and mechanisms of art awards at different levels, regional, national, and transnational.

Pierre Pénet, Research Fellow at The Graduate Institute of Geneva – International History, recently obtained his PhD in sociology from Northwestern University, Chicago, and SciencesPo, Paris. His current research investigates the role of credit ratings as mechanisms of valuation and instruments of governmentality in financial markets. He is also pursuing questions of market uncertainty and valuation in the art world.

The lectures and workshops are based on a cooperation of Kunstraum of Leuphana University of Lüneburg with KIM, Innovation Incubator at Leuphana University of Lüneburg. The Innovation Incubator Lüneburg is an EU major project, financed by the European Regional Development Fund and co-funded by the federal state of Lower Saxony.