Presentation Details

The Fourth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations

Capturing Taste in Contemporary Art: Making Sense of Price Discrepancies Between East Asian Contemporary Art and Western Equivalents

Dr Iain Robertson.

I will use financial methods for valuing assets to measure value in art, but will move beyond the consumption based asset pricing model (CCAPM) in order to attempt to capture the value of taste. I will achieve this by considering the influence of the art historical process and the significance of criticism on the value of art. Rather than using market proxies as substitutes for the nascent and inefficient art market indices. I will infer influences on the value of art by a close examination of the macro economic and political 'realities'. Measuring value in art is not an exact science. There is no model that accurately measures the value of taste. Nevertheless, by looking at art as a portable, financial asset, the value of which is subject, broadly, to the price-effect, an aspect of the value of art is captured. To this end I introduce the notion of risk-management in determining future value in contemporary art pieces, and adhere to the principle that the value of contemporary art can be measured in units of price. There is a perception, but no proof, that the price of today's contemporary art is less strongly correlated to taste than it was in previous periods, and that the art historical process may prove less effective in the future. There is also a sense that the decline in the importance of taste in the measurement of value in art is more keenly experienced in East Asia than in the West. My particular area of research is East Asia, excluding Japan, and it is understood that these emerging territories function, broadly, along the same economic, political and cultural lines as developed territories. I examine, therefore, the artwork from an absolute market standpoint and do not discuss the physical propensities of the work of art.


Dr Iain Robertson  (United Kingdom)
Dept of Arts Policy & Management, School of Arts
City University

B.A Art History; M.A Arts Management; PhD Philosophy; 1989-92 Royal Institute of British Architects; 1992-97 FCO; 1997- City University; Over eighty articles, two books to be published Summer 2004; Understanding international art markets; The emerging art markets of the Chinese world.

  • Measurement
  • Efficient
  • Economic
  • Political
  • Cultural
  • Asset

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)