• Hans Abbing


Serious art is not for everybody and not by everybody. In the halls, theatres and museums, lower-class people and non-White people were and are much underrepresented. This also applies to artists. Underrepresentation is far less extreme in popular art. In the production of serious art, also creative women artists were and sometimes still are underrepresented. In the chapter, I discuss several mechanisms of deliberate or de facto exclusion of “others”. Price exclusion and informal exclusion are most important.

In the period of serious art (circa 1880 till 1980), groups of, usually leftist, art-lovers attempt to share art with other social groups, but these attempts are unsuccessful.

Exclusivity of art is important in the arts. Moreover, being member of an own group of art-lovers is attractive and many art-lovers are willing to pay for this. This phenomenon occurs at all levels of art consumption, from the participants in a theatre performance of classical music to the small groups of people owning artworks costing millions.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Abbing
    • 1
  1. 1.AmsterdamThe Netherlands

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