Branding in the art world: the contemporary visual artist

Anamaria TOMIUC


Although the association of the term “branding” with the world of art may still generate negative reactions, reluctant attitudes and rejection, the present article investigates the branding phenomenon within the art system, with a direct reference to the contemporary artist. Two theoretical directions – the theory of the art worlds and the institutional theory of art – constitute the background for this research and provide the tools for the use of the brand term in connection with the status of the contemporary artist. The investigation will point out its particularities, starting from the idea that the “brand” contemporary artist is the creation of the art system and thus the well spread network will contribute essentially to the celebrity of that artist: branding is a strategic tool used for the cultural establishment of the artist while the value of the art work signed by a certain artist is related to the scale of the artist’s promotion and branding. The branding phenomenon is associated with the celebrity status / celebrity persona that is generally acquired and internalized by contemporary visual artists, and more especially by those who consume their art, be those collectors or general public.

Keywords: the art world, the art system, the celebrity persona, the brand artist