Art and Ideology

In his new article for the March issue of Art Monthly, Francis Frascina argues, following Zizek, that art is inextricably linked to real violence such as ethnic atrocities. Art’s political culpability is rarely framed in such specific terms, both in regard of what it is associated with and in regard of the actuality and reality of its complicity. Since Bourdieu we have got used to thinking about art’s ‘symbolic violence’ but now, this is not enough.

It is important how Frascina and Zizek link art with violence. They do not reiterate the old argument that art colludes with power through its elitism, or only when it defaults to propaganda or kitsch. Art is attached to coercion when it is at its most spiritual, aesthetic and pure. The ‘ethnic national myth which gives to people the perverse strength to kill other people’, according to Zizek, needs something like art because it ‘needs something spiritual’.

Putting this another way, structural coercion (eg state violence, civil war, religious crusades) want art to be pure and aesthetic as a kind of proof of the value of the civilisation that is being fought for. Art does not have to glorify violence in order to promote it. On the contrary, art that remains aloof from the material world (of politics, the military etc) is far more functional for the atrocities because it shows us who we ideally are, not what we actually do. This is the role of ideology. It is by over-shooting reality and representing our very highest ideals that ideology manages to serve those in power. Ideology does not do its job by telling us lies. The reason that Marxists have described it as ‘false consciousness’ is that it secures the existing social relations in processes of socialization and social reproduction. But it achieves this by promoting fine feelings and deeply held beliefs. Art is at its most ideological, then, not when it is politically instrumentalized but when it is autonomous, presenting an image of ourselves as cultivated, disinterested and high-minded.

It is important to insist that all art is ideological. It is not that each artwork is ideological and constructs itself as ideological. Insofar as art is the official or dominant culture of any society, it is an ideological instrument of that society. Art is institutionally ideological. Just as education is institutionally ideological (the school is an ideological instrument, the teacher is an ideological agent, the pupil is an ideological subject, etc), so art is ideological regardless of its content. Even when art does not comply with official beliefs and sentiments it can still promote existing society ideologically by representing its highest ideals.

This is why Marcuse’s argument that the aesthetic is implicitly resistant to ideology must be treated with extreme caution. In fact, rather than think that art and aesthetics are typically oppositional to hegemony, we would be better to assume that art only manages to do this in its exceptions. According to ideology, such exceptions would be so-called ‘great’ works, because it is through our highest ideals that ideology ties us to the values of the existing social relations. The critique of ideology suggests something like the opposite: art distinguishes itself from ideology not by retreating into an autonomous space of purity but by rejecting art itself. If art is ideological, the only art that can possibly break with art’s ideological function is anti-art.

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Evil and Utopia

Trying to find some old works in my ‘archive’, I came across this work from about 5 or 6 years ago. See what you think.

Utopian Logic

Six text works that lead, logically and utopically, from evil and despair to happiness and universal human flourishing.

Ethnic cleansing is a hateful misperception that is based on the recognition of alienation and the desire for communal fellow-feeling; the call for the destruction of the ‘other’ is a distortion of the love for others on the contradictory condition that the loved ‘others’ are ‘one of us’; identifying with others and the love for others is a precondition for individuals living according to their species being; living according to the ontology of species being is necessary for universal human flourishing or utopia.

Greed is a narrow version of Utopian dissatisfaction; the greedy want more for themselves while radical dissenters want more for themselves collectively, for the dispossessed and for humanity at large; greed based on the alienation from society that wants more for the individual is one of the ills of contemporary society while the universalisation of greed – a greed that asks for more for everyone – is a demand that subverts and exceeds possessive individualism; a greed for common shared well being is the precondition for the individual’s well being and happiness.

Tyranny is the subjugation of a nation to the will and whim of an individual; the tyrant, like the populist and the democrat, wants the nation to act with the purpose and coherence of a single individual; the democrat seeks to establish consensus while the tyrant imposes his will through the coercive power of the State; despite the fact that one uses violence and the other uses debate, both tyranny and democracy believe that society should be united; collective agency and a recognition of shared interests is a sine qua non of universal human flourishing.

Celebrity is the commodification of personality; it is the industrialization of esteem and the technologically distorted economy of familiarity; celebrity exacerbates alienation only by promising the just reward for talent (meritocracy) and genuine community (friendship with strangers); welcoming strangers as friends is essential to the Utopian reorganisation of social relations; celebrity makes a scarcity of that which needs to be common property in a world devoted to universal human flourishing.

Torture is an act of severe pain and suffering (including cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment) intentionally inflicted to obtain information; the technique is unjustifiable but the immediate goal contains a deformed trace of the pursuit of knowledge and truth; truth is essential to universal human flourishing; without truth, politics is nothing but the brutal competition of vested interests; the difference between hegemony and democracy is that between false and true shared interests; if universal interests are not merely the imposition of partisan interests on the rest of society then they are based on the alethic truth of species being; universalizing from what is true of species being is the starting point of a new Utopian society.

Terrorism puts violence and the threat of violence (without the authorization of the State) where negotiation ought to be; while brutal aggression against fellow humanity is the opposite of the utopian drive for universal human flourishing, no utopia is possible without the kind of total and radical social change that terrorism demands; the terrorist destroys, maims and kills in an inhumane expression of the love of humanity, or at least the element of humanity that he or she regards as worth fighting for (the social fragment that appears to represent universal humanity); utopia is not possible without taking sides with the excluded and dispossessed against the existing order of things; universal human flourishing can only be achieved by rejecting the representatives of the existing society and universalising the point of its exclusions.

 

Ugliness and Promise

My article on ‘the counter-promise of ugliness’ is out in the March issue of Art Monthly. Here’s a couple of thoughts from the article.

Beauty, Stendhal famously commented, is the promise of happiness. Adorno destabilized this idea by saying that beauty’s promise is perpetually broken (which is a way of saying that its promise is ideological), but the Frankfurt School, continued to link beauty to the good life albeit one that can never actually be lived except as a dream of an impossible reconciliation. So, even in an ugly world beauty holds the ideological advantage over ugliness. Ugliness, which does not have the same promise as beauty, has not been tangled up in the ideological structures that provide the habitat for beauty. Does ugliness, then, carry a counter-promise?

There is a thinly veiled politics to the revival of beauty. To speak of beauty in terms of character and ethics is to trade-in the promise of happiness for the production of social complicity. In short, a call to order. The revival of beauty, I would argue, is a revival of the Victorian idea of art as a civilized and civilizing experience. At its core, indeed, the revival of beauty is the reassertion of a lost but cherished reconciliation in the form of a depoliticization of cultural division in which opposition is replaced with a self-evident hierarchy. What is cherished most in beauty is that it simultaneously allows the educated individual to be a liberal and civilized subject while it makes demands of the dispossessed and alienated to regulate themselves. Ugliness does not make us good. And this is one of the reasons why ugliness has not been revived along with beauty in recent years. This is also why ugliness contains its own counter-promise. Not the promise of happiness but the promise of resisting the half-baked promise of beauty and then, through its fearless rupture, paving the way for a fuller universal happiness.

Art and Text (the third generation)

We are hanging the exhibition ‘We Are Grammar’ at Pratt Institute, New York, this week and next. The press person has asked us to clarify something. In the press release we have talked about this exhibition as bringing together a ‘third generation’ of text artists. We’ve been asked to explain what this means.

In one sense this is very simple. The first generation of text artists, in the 1960s and 1970s, introduced text as a conspicuous and strategic format for making art (in the words of Charles Harrison, they put words where pictures had been). In the 1980s, artists such as Jenny Holzer revived the use of text in art, but this (second) generation of artists did not make a fuss about the legitimacy of text as art, they just used it. Since the 1990s a new (third) generation of artists have turned to text and the textual in a different way altogether. Text has a fundamental role to play in this work but is often not visually conspicuous (think of Liam Gillick’s ‘platforms’ which establish the physical space in which a discussion is meant to take place).

We called the exhibition ‘We Are Grammar’ in order to underline the difference between the third generation and the previous two generations. Grammar, in its Wittgensteinian sense, is the structure of meaning. “Grammar, usually taken to consist of the rules of correct syntactic and semantic usage, becomes, in Wittgenstein’s hands, the wider — and more elusive — network of rules which determine what linguistic move is allowed as making sense, and what isn’t.” See more here. It is the background presence of language as structure that we are highlighting in this show and in our understanding of the third generation of text art. This is an important development, I think, and certainly leads on from the conventional view, as you can see here, of text art as simply art with text in it.

Another way of looking at the three generations of text art is see it in terms of the different philosophical traditions that they associated themselves with – the first generation were informed by the linguistic turn in philosophy (when philosophers revisited the questions of their discipline by attending closely to language); the second generation typically took their cues from the likes of Derrida, and the post-structuralist deconstruction of language and meaning; while the third generation are interested in the performative theory of language as it has been developed by Judith Butler. This links back to the first generation by virtue of Butler’s re-reading of J.L. Austin, but the emphasis is very different. I’ll say a few words about this shift of attention.

Following Austin, the locutionary (the meaning or truth of statements) misses the way that statements ‘bring about a state of affairs’ (saying ‘I bet you a tenner’ makes it so, under certain social circumstances). Judith Butler develops this argument, and undoes it slightly, by putting the emphasis on what happens when the social circumstances are inauspicious (saying ‘I now pronounce you man and wife’ can be parodic, subversive and so on, under unconventional social circumstances). So, rather than thinking of language or grammar as something that works efficiently, “the meaning of a text is not fixed, but depends on context, situation, conventions, social relations, what the reader brings to the reading, and so on. The meaning of a text can change or be quite different depending on the conditions of its enactment” (see more here). As such, the third generation of text artists are as likely to be focusing on social settings than on sentences, and on controversies over meaning rather than the truth.

‘We Are Grammar’

Pratt Manhattan Gallery, 144 West 14th Street, 2nd floor, New York, NY 10011, T (212) 647-7778

Dates – Feb 25th – May 7th, 2011
Opening – Feb 24th 6-8pm

Curated by Dave Beech & Paul O’Neill

Artists include: Can Altay/ Simon Bedwell/ Bik Van der Pol/ David Blamey/ Pavel Büchler/ Declan Clarke/ The Complaints Choir (Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen)/ Goran Djordjevic/ Ben Fitton/ Freee Art Collective/ Jaime Gili & Luis Romero/ Liam Gillick/ Anthony Gross/ Lucy Gunning/ Matthew Higgs/ Karl Holmqvist/ Toby Huddlestone/ Mark Hutchinson/ Matt Keegan/ Annette Krauss/ Pierre Leguillon/ Gareth Long/ Nanna Lysholt-Hansen/ Ronan McCrea/ Jonathan Monk/ Simon Morris/ Tone O Nielsen/ Graham Parker/ Sarah Pierce/ Falke Pisano/ Plastique Fantastique (David Burrows and Simon O’Sullivan)/ Elizabeth Price/ Savage/ Nedko Solakov/ Nick Thurston/ Jeanne van Heeswijk/ Ian Whittlesea/ Mick Wilson/ Carey Young

We Are Grammar is a large-scale exhibition of third generation Text Art. Over the past decade, this new mode of Text Art has emerged, which claims neither to have inaugurated art’s linguistic turn, nor to have treated the use of language within art as something already historical. Text Art is no longer defended as a special case, nor has it been completely incorporated into the institutions of art. Rather, its value and potential is acknowledged by a wide spectrum of contemporary artists who freely combine the use of text with performance, installation, video, photography, drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking. We Are Grammar is a large-scale exhibition which looks at the diverse and evolving ways in which artists have employed text in art over the past ten years. It takes a layered approach to exhibition-making, with an overall spatial and curatorial structure of interconnected and overlapping, yet semi-autonomous, works by over forty contemporary Text artists.

Contemporary Text Art finds itself located at the intersection of philosophy, current thinking on art and contemporary theories of language. It is an art in step with the linguistic turn in philosophy – from Wittgenstein to Derrida and from JL Austin to Judith Butler – which replaces speculations about the mind with an analysis of language use. Language cannot be considered merely as a specialized sphere, separated from the social life of things and events. To understand a language is to understand a way of life; to interrogate language is to interrogate the social and cultural landscape, the grammar of lived experience. An art made of language is not an art limited to language, but necessarily – by virtue of the properties of language – it is an art that draws us into questions about how we think, how we live, how we judge, how we feel, how we differ and how we try to resolve our differences.

The linguistic turn in philosophy has been thoroughly incorporated into art theory, and, even if the term Text Art has gone out of fashion, the use of text in art has spread like wildfire. Contemporary Text Art commands a prominent place within our post-Duchampian understanding of what art is and what makes it compelling. Duchamp’s legacy is vital to the ontology of art, which leads to, and then feeds the development of, Text Art and turns on the ‘act of nomination’ and language in this process. Initiated by Duchamp, this linguistic turn is redoubled within Conceptualism, which replaced art’s preoccupation with crafting a unique object with nominations, texts and conversations.

Titling, commentary and an entire arsenal of secondary information enter the field of artistic practice, displacing what had previously been considered paramount – namely the art object and its traces of the artistic subject. Art after Conceptualism not only places language at its heart, but it also retrospectively highlights the function of language for pre-Duchampian art (as supplement, beyond the now-contested frame) in titles, explanations, art history, criticism, and so forth. The emergence of the post-Cartesian artist and what may be called the post-Duchampian ontology of art, is not merely a description of events – Conceptual Art’s turn to language – but it theorizes the centrality of language for all art after Duchamp and Conceptualism. That is to say, the re-skilling that follows the displacement of handcraft is linguistic in the widest sense – conceptual, discursive, theoretical, archival, managerial, organizational and curatorial.

Textual items have always appeared in art, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that artworks consisted primarily of text. As such, text established itself as a legitimate presence in art, as its own genre or medium. While this manifestation could be considered to constitute the first generation of Text Art, a second generation of text began to appear, during the 1980s and 1990s as postmodernists combined text with other elements in their eclectic art of quotation. Thus, text was again present in contemporary art, but without any of the fanfare, controversy or heroics that marked its emergence in Conceptual Art during the 1960s. For the first time, it was possible for an artist to produce a one-off text work without committing to Text Art as a practice or to becoming a Text artist.

Performance, video, installation and temporary works are rarely experienced first-hand (as was typical of the modernist encounter with the art object), instead they are mediated by photographs and other documents, including descriptions, instructions, certificates, and contracts. This leads to the question posed by Martha Buskirk: ‘Does the work of authorship lie in the material object, or in the plans and instructions for its realization?’ This question has become central to our consideration of much of contemporary art today and what now constitutes the contingent object of art.

Once such secondary modes had established themselves as legitimate components of the artwork, the whole thing had to be turned around again. Consequently, much of the work included in We Are Grammar avoids the kind of propositional statements that were typical of the first generation of Text Art. Indeed, much of the work in this exhibition does not include text as a visual or visible component. Rather, the work is characterized by a shared structure within linguistic practices, being dependent on linguistic forms, mediated by linguistic exchange, engaging with the processes of nomination, documentation, rule-following and so on. In many cases, then, language is no longer the ‘face’ of third generation Text Art, but it sits in the background, occupying a role that is more like grammar than enunciation. Text Art no longer necessarily looks like text art; it has become a field of operations and a network of practices that we just call art.


Art and Tactical Media

It is interesting that within capitalism technology is a primarily economic category (the principle motor of economic growth even) whereas the relationship between art and technology is discussed predominantly by the Left in political terms. Although Marx provides a critique of the capitalist fetishizatipn of technology, this has not been taken up by subsequent generations of radical thinkers, who have preferred to think of technology tactically.

Since the beginning, at the moment when the concept of tactical media was developed, the political analysis has been seen as the radical option. Economics has been sidelined. Tactics are temporary, responsive, opportunistic (in the best sense of the word) and are within the reach of individuals and small groups. Economics, on the other hand, addresses the social totality and places the individual vis a vis large corporations, the state, gigantic structures and immense wealth. The appeal of talking tactics is obvious.

What’s more, Geert Lovink & David Garcia (he’s my boss, by the way) propose tactical media in direct opposition to a kind of (dominant) economic thinking: the hegemony of money. And, it is true that politics is the cure for economics. Another way of thinking about Socialism’s relationship to capitalism is that it seeks to politicise (viz democratise and therefore bring under popular control) the structures, agents, forces and consequences of economic relations). There is no economic solution to economics/capitalism, only a political one. Economically-oriented politics (eg union politics) is ultimately self-defeating because it limits political horizons within the system, rather than outstripping it. And yet, what I want to say is that a purely political – and tactical – response to technology is a missed opportunity. Just as there is no economic solution to economics, there is no (purely) political solution to politics. The economics of technology must be integral to the political understanding of it, and must be integral to its

Why is it that Garcia and Lovink, as well as Sean Cubitt, Gene Ray, Gerald Raunig and others write so well about the politics of technology without an economic analysis of the various uses of technology in production, innovation and commerce as well as art, subcultures and independent culture? Presumably, they don’t need it. And maybe they are also resistant to it – as a blunt approach, or whatever. But I am not advocating a reductionist analysis of the economic determinations of the field ‘in the lady instance’. What I think would be valuable here is an economic account of how anti-economic uses of technology are possible.

To be very brief, I think it could be demonstrated that a combination of capitalism’s fetishizatipn of technology (the belief that technological innovation is itself the source of profit and growth (of surplus-value rather than relative surplus value, to be precise) with the ideological status of art, education and related practices, including radical politics itself (deserving funding, being pursued for its own sake, etc), is essential for tactical media. The aim of such an economic analysis of tacticaledia – and the relation between art and technology generally – would not be to highlight a process of commodification, but to understand the multiple ways in which these genuine political gestures are, nevertheless, deeply embedded in the economics (including the legal framework necessary for capitalism, such as property rights and the freedom of speech). This may seem obvious, but it points towards something vital: there is a second politics, a systemic one, that is tactical media’s blindspot.

I am not accusing all the radicals of being conservatives against their will. I am claiming that the absence of economics in the politicisation of technology needs to be remedied. Imagine applying the methods of tactical media to the banking system. It is a nice thought but it would only get us so far. It would be disruptive and perhaps might trigger some wider action, but it would not provide the methods for tackling the economic power that banks wield over individuals and small businesses, the profits that they make and the bonuses that they extract. Now imagine applying the economic methods we would need to democratise the banking system and apply them to technology. That is not tactical media, it is a coordinated, collective, revolutionary event.

Art’s Antagonism to Economics

Art is antagonistic to economics. This is made possible, of course, by its exceptional economic circumstances. Art has not been fully commodified. It is one of those practices that has been protected from market forces as a result of the esteem shown to it. The point is neither to condemn this exceptional economy as elitism – this would be a critique that turned immediately into conservatism by insisting on art’s full incorporation into the market – nor to celebrate it as due to art’s actual value – this would be a mixture of fetishism and ideology.

It is, perhaps, surprising that art’s antagonism to economics is not even disguised. Art’s journalism is crystal clear about it. Art magazines, unlike other industry publications, do not highlight the commercial successes of leading practitioners. Drapers, the UK’s leading fashion industry journal, describes its value to its readers in a way that directly addresses business: ‘Our unique blend of business intelligence, exclusive trend forecasts and sales data can help you to transform your company, and stay ahead of the competition’. Art Monthly, which is the UK’s leading contemporary art magazine, puts the emphasis on issues, debate and discussion: it ‘keeps you in touch with today’s fast-moving art world through in-depth features, interviews with leading lights, profiles on rising stars and up-to-the-minute coverage of trends from independent critics’.

Both address the reader as someone who wants to keep abreast of the latest developments in the field, and both refer to ‘trends’, but Drapers couches this in terms of a company in competition with others in a marketplace, whereas Art Monthly frames its promise in terms of values that are resistant to the market (this is what the term ‘independent critics’ singles out) or that go beyond the superficial assessments of commercial success and failure (‘in-depth features’ are critical, substantial and internal to the practice; they are not ‘sales data’). Art Monthly deliberately pitches itself as more critical and independent from the art market than other monthly art magazines, but the absence or marginalization of business and commercial advice is consistent throughout the sector of art journalism across the world, from Artforum, Flash Art and Frieze, to Mute, Art in America, Variant and Art Review.

You can find many similar demonstrations of art’s antagonism to economics in the words of collectors, dealers, gallerists and museum directors. Many of the most powerful – and wealthy – individuals at the top of the artworld’s economic pyramid say, time and time again, that art cannot be reduced to a commodity, that they are not in it for the money and so on. The point, again, is not to condemn these words as a veil behind which they are busy making money, nor to celebrate this anti-economism of art as something appropriate and deserved. What critical thinkers need to do, I think, is to try to build a world in which art’s exceptional economy is widespread.

Art and Symptoms

Adam Phillips says that symptoms are opportunistic. Instead of the reasonable arithmetic one one cause having one effect – like a billiard ball hitting another causing it to move – we need to think of symptoms, he says, as having an opportunistic relationship with their causes. A symptom is not loyal to its origin. Symptoms greedily acquire more causes, more motivations, more reasons, more rationalities. The symptom increases its power – its inevitability – as it becomes the expression of more and more traumatic experiences or troubling feelings. The symptom wants every road to lead this one pathology.

Artworks are like symptoms. It is always a mistake, and a violation, to ‘read’ an artwork in one way and one way alone. Even artworks that have been produced with one interpretation in mind – like a symptom with the childhood event as its original cause – will quickly accumulate multiple meanings. Instead of thinking of the task of interpreting works as that of the decoder, in which the work contains a meaning already for us to discover, we might think that we are the traumas that the artwork as symptom collects. The task of the interpreter, then, is to bring a new trauma to the work, an as yet unforeseen difficulty that the work can be credited with for providing a stage on which the difficulty can be reexamined.

Art and Commodification

Although the word ‘commodification’ was coined in reference to art and the culture industry, it is quite misleading to speak of art’s commodification, even though it is certainly true that finance and exchange are more conspicuous in art than ever before. Commodification, as a process, is in full swing within globalized capitalism. The policies of enforced economic hardship that are being implemented around the world in the wake of the ‘credit crunch’, will certainly bring about further expansion of commodification. Public services like libraries are joining the ranks of Higher Education as subject to market forces, and will, no doubt, either be turned into commodities (Waterstones to the rescue, anyone?), or broken up and sold.

However, if we wanted to understand the specific nature of art’s ‘incorporation’, we would not get very far by imagining it as increasingly commodified. The art market remains insulated from modern market forces, resists ‘good’ business practice, shuns public relations and refuses to be led by the purchasing power of its customers, the collectors. The art market has a lot of money flowing through it, but it is not organized as a streamlined business activity. No, if we want to think about art’s ‘incorporation’ we have to look beyond commodification, to understand art as an ‘Ideological State Apparatus’ (to use Althusser’s term). Like education, art is an arm of the state. It should be noted straight away that neither are simple propaganda machines that tell us what to think. The point of the ISA’s is to provide us with modes of subjectivity (modes of complicity, we might say) to which we might aspire.

So, if this is right, then we are at a strange crossroads for art and education. The state seems to want to abandon these ideological institutions and hand them over to the market, so that they will function like any other commodity; and those who are defending them against the market are, unwittingly, endorsing their status as ideological apparatuses. This is a real difficulty, not an inversion to make critical thinkers feel guilty or naive. We need to see art has having a complex relationship to the social totality, including the state and the market (what Habermas calls the ‘steering media’ of money and power). The growth in the art market and the inevitable force that this exerts on artists, museums, curators and gallerists, should be seen within the wider context in which art enjoys extraordinary protections from the market. Not only does the public sector secure a buffer zone between art and commerce, but commercial sponsors, private patrons and public commissioners remain committed (albeit perhaps reluctantly or within certain limits) to art’s (ideological) esteem and (economic) independence. Art’s independence from the market and the state is constantly under threat but it is also constantly defended and (imperfectly) maintained. This is why, even in the globalized artworld today, it is still justifiable that art students are not taught to adjust their vision to the potential buyers of their work.

Art and Macroeconomics

Art as an economic activity has grown enormously in the last few decades but it has done so in a peculiar way that tells us a lot about art. The key factor of macroeconomic growth, according to mainstream economists, is technological development. That is to say, an economy can produce more – and therefore increase its GDP – when it develops technologies that increase productivity and efficiency, or reduce labour costs, etc. The expansion of the art market and increases in numbers of galleries, artists and so on has not followed this pattern. And it would be inappropriate to expect it to follow this pattern, for two key reasons.

First, artists tend not to be employed by capitalists or their managers, and therefore productivity is not measured in the normal way. Artists, unlike workers in other industries, normally own their own means of production, and the products that they produce. No owner or manager is in any position to increase their profit by forcing artists to work more efficiently or cheaply, nor would they gain by developing new technologies for increasing the productivity of the artist-as-labourer.

Second, capitalists tend to take a financial interest in art – especially the primary market – through consumption rather than investment. In this sense it is a luxury good. The difference is that it is not produced according to the same economies as luxury goods (even the production of sports cars is organized, as far as possible, in terms of cost effectiveness, and technology is used, as much as possible, to increase productivity and reduce labour costs).