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Logiche pratiche nel campo dei galleristi. Una ricerca sugli intermediari dell’arte a Milano.

Anna Uboldi


This work aims to investigate some aspects of the art dealer profession, according to Bourdieu’s field perspective (2010), also relying on some suggestions coming from interactionist research (Becker 2004). The arguments developed are part of a study on gallery owners carried out in the city of Milan, the Italian capital of contemporary art. It is a qualitative research based on in-depth interviews to art gallery owners and participant observations. The analysis examines the practical logics (Bourdieu 1998) underlying the everyday work of these art intermediaries. The field of art dealers is a case of symbolic goods economy, characterized by the coexistence of artistic and economic values (Bourdieu 2005). This ambivalence takes shape in the definition of gallerist itself, in opposition to the idea of merchant of art, thus representing a division among art dealers, based on practices, discourses and structures. The claim to the label of ‘gallerist’ is a discursive euphemism inside conflicts of nomination (Bourdieu 2001). In this way, I interpret some different stances in this artistic microcosm. I propose a classification of art dealers’ profiles to reflect some of their hierarchies and distinctive features. The analysis, carried out through the heuristic lens of the cultural production field, permits to define this working microcosm as an occupation between humility and pride (Hughes 2010). In conclusion, the analysis reveals some struggles of classification in the field of art galleries.


Art dealer, field, occupational community, cultural production, artistic microcosm

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/lcm-2017-002-ubol

Copyright (©) 2018 Anna uboldi – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie


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Lingue Culture Mediazioni - Languages Cultures Mediation
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Section Managers: Maria Matilde Benzoni, Università degli Studi di Milano (Modern history) - Paola Cotta Ramusino, Università degli Studi di Milano (Russian linguistics and translation) - Mario de Benedittis, Università degli Studi di Milano (Sociology) - Kim Grego Università degli Studi di Milano (English linguistics and translation) - Giovanna Mapelli, Università degli Studi di Milano (Spanish linguistics and translation) - Bettina Mottura, University of Milan (Chinese studies) - Mauro Giacomo Novelli, Università degli Studi di Milano (Contemporary Italian literature and culture) - Letizia Osti, Università degli Studi di Milano (Arab studies) - Maria Cristina Paganoni, Università degli Studi di Milano (English linguistics and translation) - Giuseppe Sergio, Università degli Studi di Milano (Italian linguistics) - Virginia Sica, Università degli Studi di Milano (Japanese studies)

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