Previously at the ICA - Events

KP Brehmer, Real Capital Production (1974)

Symposium: Art is Not a Commodity

18 Feb 2017

Examining Economic Exceptionalism in Art

This symposium examines the idea that art is not a standard commodity through the theories and practices of economic exceptionalism discussed in Dave Beech’s book Art and Value (Brill 2015).

The speakers set out to test the proposition that coherent distinctions can be drawn between the economically exceptional and the economically standard. Using these distinctions, we aim to unpack urgent issues around the economic context of art, including unpaid internships, payment of artists, public funding of arts, ‘value engineering’ practices, the economics art education, and the facts of the art market.

The day is split into four themed sessions: Art and Values, Managing ChangePaying for Art and Art and Work. Speakers include Dave BeechJason BowmanMarsha Bradfield, Kim Charnley, Gail Day, Mel Evans, Ben Fitton, Julie McCalden, Andrea PhillipsRosalie SchweikerMarina Vishmidt, Josefine Wikström and Mick Wilson.


  • 11.15 - 11.40 Introduction
    • 11.15 - 11.20 Welcome by Professor Malcolm Quinn 
    • 11.20 - 11.40 Introduction by Professor Dave Beech
  • 11.40 - 12.40 Session 1: Art & Values
    • Mel Evans: Artwash - How oil companies instrumentalise art        
    • Rosalie Schweiker: £180 : 3 = £60         
    • Panel discussion chaired by Ben Fitton
  • 12.40 - 13.20 Lunch
  • 13.20 - 14.20 Session 2: Managing Change
    • Andrea Phillips: Devaluation and institutional management         
    • Mick Wilson: Some changes in the discourse on art and value: From the ‘bargain sale of values’ to ‘deferred value’         
    • Panel discussion chaired by Jason Bowman
  • 14.20 - 15.20 Session 3: Paying For Art
    • Kim Charnley: Affluence and Degradation: Ian Burn’s economics of art under Neoliberalism?         
    • Julie McCalden: Can we afford NOT to pay artists?         
    • Panel discussion chaired by Marsha Bradfield
  • 15.20 - 15.50 Refreshment Break
  • 15.50 - 16.50 Session 4: Art & Work
    • Josefine Wikström: The mediation of abstract labour in art         
    • Marina Vishmidt: Erase Errata: On Being Interested in the Economy and the Anomaly         
    • Panel discussion chaired by Gail Day
  • 16.50 - 17.00 Closing thoughts

    Closing thoughts by Dave Beech 


Convened by Professor Malcolm Quinn, Professor Dave Beech and Lisa le Feuvre. This event is co-organised with Valand Academy and presented by Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon Graduate School Public Programme.

Presented by

Co-organised with


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