Amy Whitaker is an award-winning writer and researcher who studies the frictions between art and markets and between politics and economics. Her work on fractional equity in art using blockchain models new structures of economic sustainability for artists and extends to policy proposals for redistribution. She received the 2021 Edith Penrose Award from the European Academy of Management for "trailblazing" research that challenges orthodoxies and has impact.
With explicitly broad engagement across disciplines, political environments, and both academic and generalist conversations, she has published in top peer-reviewed journals in finance, sociology, law, education, archival studies, cultural economics, and arts administration, and has spoken widely including at the Aspen Ideas Festival, TEDx, TNW, Goop, Unfinished Live, and numerous colleges and universities nationally and internationally. Her work has been covered in The New York Times, Time Magazine, The Guardian, Harpers, The Atlantic, the Financial Times, Artnet News, Hyperallergic, Artforum, The Art Newspaper, and many others.
Dr. Whitaker worked for twenty years before joining academia including for the investment firm D.E. Shaw & Co., L.P., the company Locus (where she named on patents for economic classification systems), the artist Jenny Holzer, and numerous museums including the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art, and Tate. She holds a BA from Williams College with honors in political science and art, an MFA in painting, an MBA, and a PhD in political economy. Her newest work extends her research on fractional equity in art to creative policy design and the reimagination of politics in an age of fragile democracy and increasingly fewer shared truths.
A devoted teacher and mentor, Dr. Whitaker has been nominated for NYU's teaching award and served previously as a mentor to the TED Fellows program and NEW INC, where she also designed the professional development curriculum for artists, designers, and technologists.
The Story of NFTs: Art, Technology, and Democracy, Rizzoli/MCA Denver. with Abrams. (2023).
Economics of Visual Art: Market Practice and Market Resistance, Cambridge University Press. (2021).
Art Thinking, Harper Business. (2016).
Museum Legs, Hol Art Books. (2009).
Selected journal articles:
Social exclusion in the arts: The dynamics of social and economic mobility across three decades of undergraduate arts alumni in the United States. Review of Research in Education, 46(1): 198-228. with Wolniak. (2022).
Cultural festivals in the age of blockchain: A new economic and social model for festival support and community engagement. American Journal of Arts Management, 10: 1-20. with Thomson, Lu, and Garde. (2022).
From the artist’s contract to the blockchain ledger: New forms of artists’ funding using equity and resale royalties. Journal of Cultural Economics, 46(2): 287-315. with van Haaften-Schick. (2022).
Generous and ungenerous contracts: Case study of the artist William Powhida’s Grevsky and store-to-own contracts. Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society, 52(3): 143-168. (2022).
Theory of an art market scandal: Artistic integrity and financial speculation in the Inigo Philbrick case. American Journal of Cultural Sociology, 10(2): 225-247. with Greenland. (2021).
Economies of scope in artists’ incubator projects. Journal of Cultural Economics, 45 (4): 613-631. (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).
Shared Value over Fair Use: Technology, Added Value, and the Reinvention of Copyright, Cardozo Art and Entertainment Law Journal, 37(3): 635-657. (2019).
Art and blockchain: A primer, history, and taxonomy of use cases in the arts. Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, 8(2), 21–46. (2019).