The Global Rules of Art

Book Website at Princeton University Press

Reviewer Copies at Princeton University Press

A trailblazing look at the historical emergence of a global cultural field and the diverse ways in which artists become valued worldwide. 

The art world used to be a highly Western-centric game. The postwar canon of so-called “international” contemporary art consisted almost entirely of artists from North America and Western Europe, while cultural agents from other parts of the world often found themselves on the margins. The Global Rules of Art examines to what extent this disriminatory situation has changed in recent decades. Drawing from abundant source material—including information regarding the cultural infrastructures of over a hundred countries; multiple institutional histories and discourses; fieldwork on four continents; and interviews with artists, critics, curators, gallerists, collectors, and auction house agents—the book charts the historical emergence of a globe-spanning cultural field and the diverse ways artists become valued worldwide. Theoretically, the book breaks new ground by advancing a multi-scalar and multi-level global field theory to study processes of globalization and their effects on different forms of valuation and inequalities across borders. This book will appeal to anyone interested in the dynamics of global art and culture, cross-border markets, and interdisciplinary global studies.

A more detailed sociological summary can be found in this section; for a summary of the book’s arguments in regard to the interdisciplinary globalization and culture debate, cf. this article.

Book Reviews and Endorsements:

“Based on fantastic fieldwork, numerous interviews & exceptional historical scholarship, The Global Rules of Art by Larissa Buchholz is the most powerful and compelling research about the new dynamics of global art today.” Annie-Cohen Solal, Distinguished Professor at Bocconi University in Milan

“Buchholz provides a novel explanation of how the international contemporary art world expanded and diversified from the 1980s to today. The Global Rules of Art is a stunning scholarly achievement.” Fiona Greenland, author of Ruling Culture: Art Police, Tomb Robbers, and the Rise of Cultural Power in Italy

“At once lucid, rigorous, sweeping, and innovative, The Global Rules of Art is a true tour de force, a must-read for cultural sociologists, art historians, social theorists, and scholars of globalization. A stunning achievement that sets a new standard for sociological analysis.” Philip Gorski, Yale University

“This is an amazingly rich study, with a high level of density, complexity, and nuance, a reference book for now and future generations.” Kitty Zijlmans, Review in 21: Inquiries into Art, History, and the Visual.

“Larissa Buchholz has written a magnificent account of the global art market over the last half century. The book combines extensive, and highly nuanced, discussion of a wide range of relevant cultural theories, with an enormous amount of wonderfully researched data….the book is an empirical and theoretical treasure.” David Halle, Review in Social Forces.

“A remarkable examination of the globalization of the art world over the past forty years and the new questions and forces with which it is confronted today. Adapting what Pierre Bourdieu called the ‘rules of art’ to the new geographies and internal tensions in this expanded field, this magisterial analysis exemplifies the vital role that a systemic sociology of culture can play for us today.” John A. Rajchman, Columbia University

 

“Impressive and important. The Global Rules of Art is exquisitely written and theoretically and empirically exceptional.” Clayton Childress, author of Under the Cover: The Creation, Production, and Reception of a Novel

“. . . a brilliant study of the international art field, moving Bourdieu’s analysis of culture onto a vastly expanded geographic scale. Top of the list for new social science books in 2022!” George Steinmetz, Michigan University

“Mobilisant une démarche tout à la fois historique, sociologique et comparative, Larissa Buchholz examine comment un sous-champ mondial de l’art contemporain a émergé au début des années 1980 et comment, en pratique, s’y jouent les carrières des artistes non occidentaux.” Delphine Naudier, Review in La Vie des Idées.

Summary of the Book’s Arguments/Response to a Reviewer:

Buchholz, L. “Why not Global Art World?”  Texte zur Kunst, July 2023.