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Amy Whitaker

Assistant Professor of Visual Arts Administration

Art and Art Professions

Holding an MFA and an MBA, Amy studies the frictions between art and business and proposes new structures to support economic sustainability for artists. Stemming from Amy's longstanding engagement in the social practice of teaching business to artists, this research has contributed new methods of art market analysis that center artists and archival materials. These structures, in turn, inform policies of economic redistribution in democratic societies.

Amy's peer-reviewed articles on fractional equity have appeared in Management Science (with Kraussl) in the "Fast Track" intended for "high-impact research that is of broad interest, analogous to what might appear in Science, Nature, or PNAS", as well as in Visual Resources, Artivate, the International Journal of Cultural Policy, and Cardozo Arts and Entertainment Law Journal. Both her research and her teaching have been covered in the press including in The Guardian, Harpers, The Atlantic, the Financial Times, Artforum, and The Art Newspaper. Her early work with the artists' cooperative project Trade School was covered in the New York Times and The New Yorker. 

Amy's first book, Museum Legs, was reviewed in Curator: The Museum Journal and selected as the common read for the Rhode Island School of Design in 2010, where Amy gave the first year orientation keynote. Her second book Art Thinking received the Axiom silver medal award in the creativity and innovation category. Amy has given related talks nationally and internationally including at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Meaning Conference (Brighton, UK), and The Conference (Malmö, Sweden). She has spoken at numerous universities including as part of the Athenaeum Lecture Series at Claremont University and to give the annual Teske Lecture at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Art Thinking has been translated into Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, and Czech. Amy's third book, Economics of Visual Art: Market Practice and Market Resistance, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

A frequent essayist and commentator outside of academia, Amy is a past recipient of the Sarah Verdone Writing Award from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She is also past president of the Professional Association for Women in the Arts and member of the Association of Arts Administration Educators Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce. She has taught previously at Williams College, the School of Visual Arts, RISD, California College of the Arts (in the pioneering design strategy MBA), and the Sotheby's Institute. Before entering academia, she worked for the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Tate, as well as for the artist Jenny Holzer and the investment firms D.E. Shaw & Co., L.P. and Locus Analytics. Amy's first degree is from Williams College where she received the Krouse Prize in political science and the college-wide Hutchins Prize for character and citizenship. Trained as a painter, Amy has exhibited works in the U.S. and U.K. and her prints, drawings, and photographs are held in a number of private collections and in the Tate Gallery papers.

Selected Publications

Selected research articles:

Fractional Equity, Blockchain, and the Future of Creative Work. Management Science. with Kräussl. In press. [impact factor: 4.219]

Art, Antiquities, and Blockchain: New Approaches to the Restitution of Cultural Heritage. International Journal of Cultural Policy. With Bracegirdle, De Menil, Gitlitz, and Saltos. (2020, articles in advance).

Artists’ Royalties and Performers’ Equity: A Ground-Up Approach to Social Impact Investment in Creative Fields. Cultural Management, 3(2): 33-51. With Grannemann. (2019).

Shared Value over Fair Use: Technology, Added Value, and the Reinvention of Copyright, Cardozo Art and Entertainment Law Journal, vol. 37, no. 3, 635-657. (2019).

Economic Provenance: The Financial Analysis of Art Historical Records, Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies, vol. 6, no. 27. (2019).

Artist as Owner Not Guarantor: The Art Market from the Artist’s Point of ViewVisual Resources, vol. 34, no. 1-2, 48-64.Whitaker, A. (2018).

Partnership Strategies for Creative Placemaking in Teaching Entrepreneurial ArtistsArtivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, vol. 6, no. 2, 23-31 (2017).

Ownership for Artists, in The Social Life of Artistic Property. With Pablo Helguera, Michael Mandiberg, William Powhida, and Caroline Woolard. (2014).

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Selected essays:

Artists Are Entrepreneurs. We Should Compensate Them Accordingly. Artsy, August 14, 2018. (with contribution from Kräussl).

The Eureka Moment That Made Bitcoin Possible. Wall Street Journal, Review, May 26-27, 2018, p. C18.

Empathy and Its Discontents. e-flux, February 16, 2017.

Why Teach Business to Artists? Hyperallergic, July 20, 2016.

Coding Is an Art: Software People Should Learn "Art Thinking." Fast Company, October 2, 2013.

The Obscure Early Lives of the Artists. The Millions, January 2, 2013.

Programs

Visual Arts Administration

Learn how to be a dynamic leader in the visual arts field. Our Visual Arts Administration program was the first in the nation to focus on visual arts management careers in both traditional and alternative contexts.