Collectors, Investors and Speculators: Gatekeeper use of audience categories in the art market
AuthorCoslor, E; Crawford, B; Leyshon, A
Source TitleOrganization Studies
University of Melbourne Author/sCoslor, Erica
AffiliationManagement and Marketing
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsCoslor, E., Crawford, B. & Leyshon, A. (2020). Collectors, Investors and Speculators: Gatekeeper use of audience categories in the art market. Organization Studies, 41 (7), pp.945-967. https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840619883371.
Access StatusOpen Access
This research examines gatekeepers’ categorization work to assess and sort audience members. Using a multi-sited ethnography and interpretivist qualitative lens, we explore how high-value art gallerists sort buyers via categories, but also encourage conformity with preferred audience categories, both for artistic consecration goals and to discourage disruptive speculation. Categories served as reference points, with preferred and problematic buyer categories providing a discursive socialization tool, but also informing gatekeeping strategies, for example, problematic behaviors and buyer categories led to value-protecting gatekeeping and exclusion, often justified in moral terms. Monitoring continued throughout the relationship, with decisions considered both fair and necessary for gallerists’ professional practice. Gatekeeping decisions included long-term temporal considerations, prompting strategies including ‘placement’, monitoring and audience recategorization. This extends gatekeeping beyond simply passing muster at the ‘gate’. We also illustrate the dynamic and fluid nature of hidden categories, which provide gatekeepers with heightened abilities to punish perceived wrongdoing.
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