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Jim Shaw on Popularity in the Art World


In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Jim Shaw (BFA 1974) was asked to weigh in on the topic of Popularity in the Art World.

The Wall Street Journal asked six figures to define popularity in their respective fields. Artist Jim Shaw says that power lies in the hands of collectors, who control an artist’s value. 

Today, collectors determine popularity. The art world is an oligopoly in that a small number of individuals control value. So you can be successful without being popular, without having many fans. In the music world, if you don’t have fans, you don’t exist. The industry has moved toward the art fair as a way to view and buy art. That is not necessarily the best way to read art.

Susan Wojcicki, Tom Colicchio and More on Popularity: WSJ asks six luminaries to weigh in on a single topic. This month: Popularity