Skip to main content

Search NYU Steinhardt


Amy Whitaker

Assistant Professor of Visual Arts Administration

Art and Art Professions

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 has developed new models of fractional equity in art which rely on blockchain technologies.

Amy's peer-reviewed articles on fractional equity have appeared in Management Science (with Kräussl) 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 Journal of Cultural Economics, Curator: The Museum Journal, American Journal of Cultural Sociology, Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies, Visual Resources, Artivate, the International Journal of Cultural Policy, and Cardozo Arts and Entertainment Law Journal. A leading expert in blockchain, NFTs, and the economics of art, Amy's research and her teaching have been covered in the press including in Time Magazine, The Guardian, Harpers, The Atlantic, the Financial Times, Artnet News, Hyperallergic, 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. She was interviewed by TRT World, Turkish television, alongside Vignesh Sundaresan (Metakovan), the purchaser of the record-breaking $69.348 million Beeple NFT sale.

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 published by Cambridge University Press in September 2021.

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 holds a PhD in political economy from Goldsmiths, University of London, as well as an MBA from Yale and an MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art. 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


Economics of Visual Art, Cambridge University Press. (2021).

Art Thinking, Harper Business. (2016).

Museum Legs, Hol Art Books. (2009).


Selected research articles:

Economies of scope in artists’ incubator projects. Journal of Cultural Economics, articles in advance. (2021).

Reconsidering people as the institution: Empathy, pay equity, and deaccessioning as key leadership strategies in art museums. Curator: The Museum Journal, 64(2): 253-267. (2021).

Fractional equity, blockchain, and the future of creative work. Management Science, 66(10), 4594–4611. with Kräussl. (2020).

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).

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).


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.


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.

Read More