Allan Banford. Retrospective One, photograph, 2016.


The Art World Now

  • Begins: Tuesday 5 March 2019
    Until: Tuesday 2 April 2019
  • Swedenborg House, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH
  • Lecturer: Anna Moszynska

There is much curiosity about how the art world functions. Focussing on the largest sector in the art market – Post War and Contemporary Art – we shall examine the various ways in which the art system operates. Over the course of five illustrated talks, its major components will be discussed and by looking at particular case studies, we shall see how these different aspects might interrelate to create the art world as it exists today.

  1. The Dynamics of the Art World: an overview

This lecture provides an introduction to how the contemporary art world functions from a UK perspective. We trace the putative trajectory of the artist from art school to public view and consider the various types of venue where living art is seen and promoted, and explore the differences between them: project space and commercial gallery; ‘Kunsthalle’ and museum; private collection and foundation; biennale and art fair; auction and private sale. Some of the key players will be pinpointed – gallerists and auction experts; curators and critics; collectors and dealers; journalists and publishers – who contribute to its successful functioning.

  1. The Artist: Antony Gormley in focus

How does an artist forge a successful career? Looking in depth at one who has attained both national and international fame in our lifetime, we discuss the career of Antony Gormley. Examining his sculptural work in context with that of his peers, this lecture foregrounds the major show of the artist’s work to be held at the Royal Academy in 2019.

  1. The Commercial Sector and the Collector

This lecture looks in close detail at the role of galleries and the auction houses and how they operate.  The role of the collector of living artists will be discussed, and some of the redoubtable figures whose own approach to collecting has left their stamp on contemporary art will be considered. These include Count Panza di Biumo, Peter Ludwig, Eli and Edyth Broad, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Ingvild Goetz, Agnes Gund and Anita Zabludowicz.

  1. The Blockbuster Show: Sensation

This public exhibition of a privately-owned collection – Charles Saatchi’s ‘young British artists’ – proved to be sensational both in London and New York during the late 1990s. The lecture looks at the factors leading to Sensation’s notoriety at the Royal Academy.

  1. Contemporary Art and Regeneration

The final lecture examines the way in which contemporary art has been used as a means of social and commercial regeneration. This is seen not just in public galleries such as the Baltic in Gateshead and the Turner Contemporary in Margate, but also in the proliferation of biennales and art fairs. Surprisingly, it has also played a significant role in reviving visitor numbers at stately homes, and the lecture will trace three fascinating initiatives at Blenheim Palace, Chatsworth House and Houghton Hall, each of which is based on a different commercial and curatorial model.


Anna Moszynska is a lecturer and writer, specialising in contemporary art. She developed the first British MA Degree in the subject at Sotheby’s Institute and has also taught at institutions including the Royal Academy and Tate, as well as lecturing to diverse audiences in cities ranging from Dubai to New York. She has reviewed for BBC Radio and various art periodicals. Anna currently teaches at academic institutions in London and Paris and runs her own courses under the auspices of Contemporary Art Talks. Her books include Abstract Art, Sculpture Now (Thames & Hudson) and Antony Gormley Drawings (British Museum).

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