Author Meets Critics: Dave Beech's "Art and Value: Art’s Economic Exceptionalism in Classical, Neoclassical and Marxist Economics"
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SUNDAY June 4th Session 7: 3:40pm - 5:40pm
Dave Beech’s groundbreaking 2015 text Art and Value is the first systematic critique of the analytical approaches to art that have arisen within the frameworks of classical, neoclassical and Marxian economics. In addition to diagnosing a series of foundational mistakes that undermine the conclusions of historically significant economic treatments of art, the book also makes the positive argument that art is economically exceptional, in that the dynamics of its production and consumption are dissimilar to the dynamics that characterize the production and consumption of commodities in the context of capital accumulation. That is, contrary to the conventional pessimistic wisdom of much Marxist art theory, art has (by and large) not been relentlessly commodified, and art production has (by and large) not been subject to formal or real subsumption under capital. In this author-meets-critics panel, four music scholars who are sympathetic to Beech’s project develop and reflect upon themes from Art and Value. Topics to be explored include: 1) the applicability of Beech’s analysis, which centers on visual art and the gallery system, to various spheres of musical production and consumption; 2) the broad class of saleable items whose use-value is inseparable from the (authentic, traditional, non-exploitative, etc.) manner in which they are produced (such as art objects); 3) the welfare economics behind justifications for government support for the arts; and 4) the methodological errors committed by “Weberian” Marxists, such as Adorno and Lukács, in their impressionistic attempts to correlate artistic phenomena and the capitalist mode of production. Each paper will be followed by a response from Beech.
Dave Beech. 2015. Art and Value: Art’s Economic Exceptionalism in Classical, Neoclassical and Marxist Economics. Boston: Brill.
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Bryan Parkhurst is an Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Oberlin Conservatory and a member of the International Marxist Humanist Organization.
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University of California - Irvine
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Stephan Hammel is Assistant Professor of Musicology at the University of California - Irvine and a member of the steering committee of the International Marxist Humanist Organization.
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University of Virginia
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Jarek Ervin is a PhD student in musicology at the University of Virginia. He is active with the Philly Socialists.
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Ben Laude is a concert pianist and activist in New York, NY.
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University of Gothenburg
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Dave Beech is an artist in the collective Freee (with Andy Hewitt and Mel Jordan), as well as a writer and curator.
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