“If the aforementioned tendencies—the event-driven turn in the market, the market’s ongoing globalization, the continued ascent of formerly ‘alternative’ practices to the mainstream, and persistent complication around investing in art—have all come into greater clarity over these past five years, one final factor arguably trumps all others with respect to the present vitality of the trade: the growing divide between the top of the market and everything else.” Noah Horowitz, author, The Art of the Deal
There are around 2,000,000 working artists in the USA. Many of them work at other jobs. I do not know of any social science research that is aimed to accurately capture the varieties of business models being deployed by individual artists. That said, there are tiers given by the global art market.
Regional art markets are variously describable, with specific institutional and commercial concerns leading the description of their local ‘art world,’ and, to a lesser extent, the success of some of their resident artists also adding to the description.
The top of the art world is the art world everybody is fascinated by, yet, working artists in their hometowns are much more likely to be fascinated by their local art world.
The amazing paradox of the world of art commerce is that its model is thought to scale all the way down to the lowest tiers of local art worlds. This is paradoxical. The results speak for themselves! I’ll demonstrate this soon. The scaled-down model is preposterous on its face. However, its verities infect most everything in the local art worlds, especially the nature of gatekeeping in those worlds, and, how a simple problem is mediated, that there are many more artworks than there are post-transactional places for the pieces to end up at.