The Artist is Absent: the Artist as Creativity Entrepreneur and Changes in Representation and Practices of "Art"

Franz Schultheis


Currently, a small team based at the university of St Gallen is undertaking ethnographic field research centred around the subject "Artist entrepreneurs and art fabricators: practices and representations of fine art in the context of manufacturing". Based on qualitative research such as participatory observation in art manufactures, comprehending interviews with all participants, but also documentation of entire production processes, the study aims to explore this specific configuration of art production and its effects on changes in the perception and legitimisation of art.

While conceptual innovation – the idea on which the artwork is based – continues to be the exclusive domain of the artist, material and technical innovation as part of the realisation of an artwork is increasingly outsourced from the artist's studio to art workshops run by invisible art service providers. More and more, there is a growing distance and expanding chain of events between the concept and its material implementation. These new relations of production around artistic goods raise fundamental questions about the understanding and the status of art, but also about pricing on the art market, where such hidden costs certainly have an impact on the high value of works such as those by Hirst or Koons.


Hirst; Koons; Art Fair; Biennale

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