Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Quantifying artistic value

This is about a very interesting, though quite controversial at the same time, project of David Galenson, economic historian at the University of Chicago: quantifying 20th century artwork based on market and visual citations. While I think his proxies for art quality can be debated, Galenson is clearly onto something important-- and that despite the fact that I do not take Clement Greenberg's statement (used as motto within Galenson's forthcoming book) ad litteram (though I am also far from a 100% disagreement with it): "Quality in art is not just a matter of private experience. There is a consensus of taste."


PS. This should probably be an extremely interesting theme for my good old friend, Daniel. I wonder what he makes of this new attempt of Economists to take over other fields :-).


Anonymous said...

Galenson's related work has been vocally criticized by both statisticians and art historians. I don't expect this new book to be any better.

Sebi Buhai said...

I thought the sine qua non of published research is to get it assessed by the scientific community (before and after). There is always scope for improvement, surely. As there is always need for innovation and in a way Galenson did just that.

Aside that, it would have been helpful if you actually mentioned some of that "vocal criticism" since more of us would be interested in following up on it...