© 2005

Art and the State

The Visual Arts in Comparative Perspective


Part of the St Antony’s Series book series

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Victoria D. Alexander, Marilyn Rueschemeyer
    Pages 1-18
  3. Victoria D. Alexander
    Pages 58-100
  4. Marilyn Rueschemeyer
    Pages 126-153
  5. Victoria D. Alexander, Marilyn Rueschemeyer
    Pages 183-203
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 204-235

About this book


This book examines the impact of states and their policies on visual art. States shape the role of art and artists in society, influence the development of audiences, support artistic work, and even affect the very nature of artistic production. The book contrasts developments in the United States with art policies in Britain and in the social democratic states of Norway and Sweden. In addition, it analyzes revealing transitions - the changes brought about in East Germany after unification and the experiences of artists who left the Soviet Union for the west. The result is a significant contribution to the sociology and the political economy of art.


communism economy Institution Museum Policy visual arts work

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of SurreyUK
  2. 2.Rhode Island School of DesignUSA

About the authors

VICTORIA D. ALEXANDER is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Surrey. She is the author of Museums and Money: The Impact of Funding ion exhibitions, Scholarship and Management (1996), Sociology of the Arts (2003), and numerous articles in the social study of art, artists and museums.

MARILYN RUESCHEMEYER is Professor of Sociology at the Rhode Island School of Design and also holds an appointment at Brown University. She is the author of several books and articles on Eastern Europe during the communist and postcommunist periods, including Professional Work and Marriage: An East West Comparison and Soviet Emigre Artists: Life and Work in the USSR and the United States.

Bibliographic information

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'Art and the State is a wonderful book. I look forward to adopting it for my course on politics and the arts as soon as it is out. I especially like the way in which the authors take a nuanced approach to consider the vexed relationship of the arts and the state. They are right on target when pointing to the subtle control effects that exist in non-totalitarian as well as in extremely authoritarian states. Their comparative perspective is a most valuable addition to an under-studied field.' - Vera Zolberg, Professor of Sociology, New School University

'Timely, informative, and well-structured this book provides a much needed comparison of the relationship between the state and the visual arts in the United States, Britain, Norway, Sweden, East Germany before the fall of Communism, and the Soviet Union. The authors convincingly argue that, regardless of political system, the state is everywhere 'deeply involved in art' and that 'the market alone prevails nowhere'...Art and the State constitutes important reading to all who are interested in the visual arts, in the history, sociology and anthropology of art, in cultural politics, heritage studies, arts management, museology, political science, and many other fields and topics.' - Barbro Klein, Professor of Ethnology, Director, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCASSS), Uppsala