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Title: Institutional logics of artistic innovation in contemporary art : the symbolic construction of young British artists
Author: Samdanis, Marios
ISNI:       0000 0004 5355 0241
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2015
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The principal objective of this research is to investigate the institutional logics of artistic innovation in the context of contemporary visual arts. Contemporary art is a challenging field because there are no universal rules that determine artistic innovation, which inevitably relies on subjective justifications. Contemporary art institutions increasingly compete to display artistic innovation through their curatorial work, which derives from and shapes their institutional logics. The analysis in this study seeks to demystify the production of artistic innovation within contemporary art institutions, shedding light on the complex institutional dynamics that stem from interactions between artists, curators, patrons and art institutions. This thesis contributes to the existing theory a framework, based on the sociological thought of Becker and Bourdieu, which shows artistic innovation to be an organisational phenomenon. This conceptual framework is used to investigate the institutionalisation of art, in which artistic innovation is discursively constructed as a claim for authenticity. Such a claim expands knowledge structures concerning contemporary art and creates new identities for artists, creative agents and art institutions. The thesis makes a further contribution in that it seeks to advance organisational theory, and to provide insights into a field in which logics shift as a result of constantly changing power dynamics in order to fuel artistic innovations. The empirical focus of this study is the Young British Artists (YBAs), an art movement that emerged from London in the early 1990s, receiving support from powerful patrons, such as Charles Saatchi and art institutions including the Tate. This analysis contributes insights into the symbolic construction of artistic innovation, as the discourse of the YBAs facilitated their establishment as an art movement within the artistic field, and reinforced the position of the agents that appropriated this discourse. The case of the YBAs also demonstrates the importance of context for contemporary art production, as London provided the appropriate conditions for artistic innovation to flourish. Through its presentation of the social organisation of artistic innovation, this thesis demystifies contemporary art as the product of power relations and a stimulus of shifting logics in art institutions. Methodologically, this thesis contributes to the practice of critical discourse analysis, inserting a chronological dimension into Fairclough’s (2010) multilevel framework, in order to show how artistic discourses evolve while transforming the institution of art.
Supervisor: Lee, Soo Hee Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: HA33 Management Science