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IS THE ART MARKET MORE BOURGEOIS THAN BOHEMIAN?

Authors


  • USC's Lusk Center for Real Estate has provided generous financial support for this project. We are grateful to Elizabeth Currid-Halkett for her assistance in developing the data set and researching New York's art history. We thank Mark Partridge, Chris Redfearn, Bob Van Order, and three anonymous referees for their insightful comments. Ray Calnan, Vivian Ho, David Pirko, and Haoran Zhu provided excellent research assistance. Staff at the New York and Los Angeles Public Libraries graciously assisted with primary research materials and Hi-Tech Outsourcing Services provided data entry services.

ABSTRACT

Most research on the art market focuses on the high end, composed of auction houses and a few well-known dealers. In this paper, we use a new database to examine the industry structure and location patterns of the New York art market, which consists largely of small, independent, relatively unknown galleries. We find that Manhattan galleries are highly spatially concentrated, and that clustering reflects both agglomeration economies and preferences over location-specific amenities. New galleries are more likely to open in neighborhoods with existing gallery clusters, and proximity to other galleries increases establishment lifespan. New galleries also locate in neighborhoods with high population density and more affluent households, consistent with location models of luxury retail. The results are not consistent with the hypothesis that galleries locate in cheap, “bohemian” neighborhoods.

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