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Bound by CreativityHow Contemporary Art Is Created and Judged$
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Hannah Wohl

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226784557

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226784724.001.0001

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Eyes and Ears: Collecting Work and Maintaining Connoisseurship

Eyes and Ears: Collecting Work and Maintaining Connoisseurship

(p.102) Chapter 5 Eyes and Ears: Collecting Work and Maintaining Connoisseurship
Bound by Creativity

Hannah Wohl

University of Chicago Press

This chapter analyzes how collectors build private collections. Through their upbringings and exposure to the art world, they form commitments toward collecting and a sense of their aesthetic interests and sensibilities. They seek bodies of work that resonate with their creative visions, developing enduring connections with artists and galleries as they search for aesthetic fit and solidify perceptions of their own creative visions. Among artists' bodies of work that collectors judge to align with their own creative visions, collectors choose bodies of work that they view as representing distinctive, but evolving, creative visions. Within an artist’s body of work, collectors typically select iconic work, the work that they believe best encapsulates the core qualities of this creative vision, as they value the artist for his or her creative vision. Collectors buy less iconic works when they cannot access more iconic works, already own more iconic works, or feel that the less iconic works better connect to their personal interests. Collectors distinguish themselves from those who they view as lower-status collectors by highlighting a balance of both distinctive and well-known works in their collections.

Keywords:   aesthetic judgment, art fairs, art collectors, cultural taste, distinction, Pierre Bourdieu, elites, private collectors, socialization, iconic

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