Legitimising Artistries in the Danish Art World

Marta Margrete Schioldann-Nielsen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This thesis explores the formation of legitimate artistries within the Danish art world. The study examines the various mechanisms, practices, and processes that either enable or restrict artists’ long-term legitimate status. The goal is to define a legitimate artistry and examine how it is impacted by the wider social environment. The findings are based on qualitative interviews with various art world members. The findings were discussed according to theoretical perspectives of organisational legitimacy and artistic legitimation. This novel combination of literature was applied in order to analyse how legitimacy is formed in an institutionalised environment of cultural productions. Literature suggests how institutional actors rely on certain rules, myths, and norms to assure legitimacy. Additionally, suggestions of a reciprocal form of legitimacy were presented, where legitimate status must be possessed by the one who confers legitimacy in order for the effect to be significant. Such legitimate status stemmed from art world members professionalisation processes in conjunction with either cultural or economic capital. The findings reveal key barriers restricting the formation and stability of a legitimate artistry. These barriers stem from cycles of legitimacy, where the wider social environment’s ideologies and trends, fads, and fashion affected the perception of what artistries may be considered legitimate at a point in time. Additionally, the findings demonstrate how art world members mobilise resources to assure legitimacy, through strategies to protect and control artists from an uncertain environment. The study thus suggest that the legitimate status of an artistry is highly sensitive and dependent on institutional forces. Additionally, findings reveal an untapped potential for increased structure and transparency among art world’s members operations, which may promote the stability of legitimacy. The conclusion contends that while some artistries seemingly effortlessly attain high levels of legitimate status, this process is far from coincidental. In fact, collective processes of mobilising certain resources are crucial in the formation of legitimate artistries and cannot be reduced to the pure genius of an independent artist. The future ability for artists to attain legitimacy may be changing due to major shifts in the art world, due to rapid changes in the external environment. Their ability to navigate, control, and protect their own position may be increasingly important as the artworld continuously grows in density and complexity.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date15 May 2023
Number of pages72
SupervisorsSophie Marie Cappelen