This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

Is The United Arab Emirates Constructing its Art History? The Mechanisms that Confer Value to Art | Steve Sabella | Contemporary Practices Art Journal


As Iain Robertson indicates, when art is created, a distribution system forms around it. Intriguingly, he sees the international art market as the sole mechanism conferring value to art (1). In the past, artists usually exchanged their creativity in return for something. Robert Huges even argues that some of the works of the great Masters (which now have great value) would not have existed unless someone had paid for them, and paid well. He considers the idea that money, patronage and trade corrupt the “wells of imagination”, to be a “pious fiction” (2). This means that there needs to be a system at work to distribute art and grant it value. At the beginning of the millennium, the UAE was not on the art map, yet in just a few years, it has managed to prove itself as an emerging art market, one that is capable to attract subs stantive art investors. These investors no more consider art which is created in the Middle East to be ‘junk’, but rather have started to give it the label of being cutting edge. The art in question might not have changed in the last decade, but there are factors that allowed for this alteration in the perception of ‘value’. Alan Bowness described four circles of recognition through which an artist goes through on his/her path to fame: peer recognition, critical recognition, patrons age by dealers and collectors, and finally public acclaim (3). Countries seeking to increase the value of their art, it seems, are required to go through nine major steps. Each of these steps plays a role in adding value.


Download PDF 



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Use coupon code WELCOME10 for 10% off your first order.


No more products available for purchase