The Wealth in Art. Luc Bol­tans­ki and Ar­naud Es­querre tal­king to Ca­the­rine Millet

Art Press - - INTERVIEW -

En­ri­chis­se­ment, une cri­tique de la

mar­chan­dise is so­me­thing of a mi­les­tone. For the first time it ana­lyzes a sec­tor of wes­tern eco­no­mies that is of­ten hid­den and so­me­times even ta­boo. The au­thors, Luc Bol­tans­ki and Ar­naud Es­querre re­veal the rich “re­sources” for ca­pi­ta­lism re­pre­sen­ted by the luxu­ry in­dus­tries, he­ri­tage and art, which are of­ten as­so­cia­ted and so­me­times confu­sed. This nexus re­pre­sents a ma­jor, de­ci­sive reor­ga­ni­za­tion of ca­pi­ta­lism wi­thin which art, in­clu­ding contem­po­ra­ry art, plays a ma­jor role. If, like me, you are naïve en­ough to be­lieve that the “spe­cu­la­tive bubble” of the art bu­si­ness is bound to burst one day, and that one day we’ll get back to “nor­mal” prices, think again: this is going to last. CM Al­low me to sum up your the­sis: since our soil and sub­soil now re­present on­ly a ti­ny frac­tion of our eco­no­my and in­dus­try as a ma­ker of ob­jects has mi­gra­ted, the on­ly source of wealth and pro­fit that re­mains is luxu­ry brands, art­works and he­ri­tage, which brings in tou­rists. LB A friend told us, “Marx had the good for­tune to live in En­gland when in­dus­trial so­cie­ty was de­ve­lo­ping. You have the good for­tune to live in France, where the eco­no­my of wealth-ge­ne­ra­tion that you ana­lyze is at its most de­ve­lo­ped.” The pro­blem is not so much the dwind­ling of cer­tain re­sources as the fall in pro­fi­ta­bi­li­ty of in­dus­trial forms of pro­duc­tion, the ones that im­ply in­ten­sive la­bor. There is a pro­duc­tive over­ca­pa­ci­ty in re­la­tion to the solvent de­mand, com­poun­ded by the great num­ber of in­dus­trial ob­jects al­rea­dy in cir­cu­la­tion, to which must be ad­ded the will of ca­pi­ta­lism’s mo­ving po­wers to get rid of this weight af­ter the scale of the wor­kers’ mo­ve­ments of the 1960s and 70s. AE This tran­si­tion from an in­dus­trial eco­no­my to an eco­no­my of en­rich­ment is stri­kin­gly exem­pli­fied in the conver­sion of the old Fiat plant in Tu­rin to a cen­ter com­bi­ning shop­ping mall, ho­tels, res­tau­rants and, at the top, a mu­seum buil­ding by Ren­zo Pia­no which has pre­ser­ved the dri­ving track that was a sur­pri­sing fea­ture of the ori­gi­nal buil­ding. What we call an “en­rich­ment ba­sin” (bassin d’en­ri­chis­se­ment) can be a buil­ding or a gi­ven neigh­bo­rhood in a ci­ty. In coun­tries like France and Ita­ly, this can re­present quite a large part of the coun­try. There is the case of Arles and the Lu­ma Foun­da­tion pro­ject, for example. AE Arles was an in­dus­trial town with work­shops pro­du­cing rail­way stock. To­day it has the hi­ghest le­vel of unem­ploy­ment in the whole PA­CA [Pro­vence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur] re­gion, but Arles is an en­rich­ment zone with a he­ri­tage that is al­rea­dy being va­lo­ri­zed (its re­gio­nal his­to­ry, bull­figh­ting, the Ren­contres de la Pho­to­gra­phie) and the co­ming of the Fon­da­tion Lu­ma, who have cal­led on Frank Geh­ry, fits per­fect­ly in­to this eco­no­my of en­rich­ment. This foun­da­tion is a ful­crum of the ci­ty’s conver­sion, and note that it is al­so ta­king over the old SNCF lo­co­mo­tive work­shops. The his­to­ri­cal sites de­ve­lo­ped to at­tract tou­rists are our he­ri­tage. Our so­cie­ty, which has al­ways pro­jec­ted in­to the fu­ture, is now for­ced to draw on its past. LB The science of eco­no­mics was construc­ted with the mo­del of in­dus­trial so­cie­ty and mass pro­duc­tion. What we are sket­ching out here are the contours of ano­ther eco­no­my that is just as im­por­tant but that does not pro­duce, one that ex­ploits and va­lo­rizes things that are “al­rea­dy there.” Clas­si­cal eco­no­mists knew about these rare things like works of art but they consi­de­red them as li­mit cases, with no in­fluence over the ge­ne­ral eco­no­my. As you know, there is cur­rent­ly a bat­tle bet­ween eco­no­mists. At stake, among other things, is the re­la­tion to so­cio­lo­gy. The more

unor­tho­dox camp is clo­ser to so­cio­lo­gy, which is it­self cri­ti­cal of or­tho­dox eco­no­mics, which it be­lieves does not take in­to ac­count the role played by people. This or­tho­dox eco­no­mics has re­mai­ned a po­si­ti­vist science that stu­dies the world of ex­changes with a view to de­du­cing laws from them, whe­reas so­cio­lo­gy sees that it is hu­man beings who construct their en­vi­ron­ment. This change in so­cio­lo­gy has oc­cur­red main­ly due to the in­fluence of lin­guis­tics and cog­ni­ti­vist phi­lo­so­phy, of Witt­gen­stein. The ques­tion of lan­guage is the­re­fore ve­ry im­por­tant in this pers­pec­tive, which puts the em­pha­sis on the construc­tion of rea­li­ty. But so­cio­lo­gy has left prices to the eco­no­mists, when prices are a cen­tral part of the way we all ex­pe­rience rea­li­ty. So there is a need to bring so­cio­lo­gy and eco­no­mics clo­ser to­ge­ther, which is what Fer­nand Brau­del set out to do when he foun­ded the École des Hautes Études. Our book takes a consi­de­rable in­ter­est in prices, but from a so­cio­lo­gi­cal angle. What does the eco­no­my of en­rich­ment re­present in com­pa­ri­son to our eco­no­my ove­rall? AE A num­ber of ac­ti­vi­ties are part of this eco­no­my: tou­rism, the luxu­ry in­dus­try, and ar­tis­tic ac­ti­vi­ties. The dif­fi­cult is that there is no co­herent fra­me­work pro­vi­ding fi­gures for all these ac­ti­vi­ties to­ge­ther. That’s why they are al­ways un­de­res­ti­ma­ted. In­deed, these are ac­ti­vi­ties that are of­ten thought of as fu­tile and that conse­quent­ly aren’t ta­ken as se­rious­ly as fi­nance and in­dus­try. But, to give you an idea, tou­rism re­pre­sents about 7.5 % of GDP, which is a lot. Culture is about 4%. It’s stri­king that the num­ber of pro­fes­sio­nals in the culture sec­tor has dou­bled since the 1990s. LB The luxu­ry in­dus­try is ve­ry im­por­tant, in­clu­ding luxu­ry foods, which are one of France’s main ex­port sec­tors along with ae­ro­nau­tics and arms! When an agri­cul­tu­ral area is trans­for­med in­to a re­si­den­tial one, an­tiques dea­lers move in­to the re­gion, along with va­rious ar­ti­sans, to “do up” old houses, not to men­tion va­rious “ser­vants” with pre­ca­rious rights.(1) When you tot it all up, that makes a lot of people. AE When we pre­sen­ted our work in New York, aca­de­mics there said that it might ap­ply to Old Eu­rope, but not to New York. The fol­lo­wing day we went wal­king on the High Line (2) where you can see pa­nels ex­plai­ning the his­to­ry of this rail­way, around which luxu­ry bou­tiques, gal­le­ries and res­tau­rants have ope­ned. This en­semble stands on­ly a few blocks from the New School where we pre­sen­ted our pa­per. It oc­cur­red to us that the people in­vol­ved with this eco­no­my just don’t want to see it.

A PART OF HIS­TO­RY As most of the riches consti­tu­ting this new de­po­sit come from the past, it seems odd that contem­po­ra­ry art should be one of them. LB A thing be­comes “art” on­ly af­ter a whole pro­cess of “ratification” which consists in consi­de­ring it as if it was al­rea­dy mu­seu­mi­fied, al­rea­dy eter­nal—as if, from some point in the fu­ture, it al­rea­dy ap­pea­red as if it was part of his­to­ry. AE Wha­te­ver is said about the im­por­tance of the pri­vate sec­tor in contem­po­ra­ry art, there is an am­bi­guous connec­tion with mu­seums and foun­da­tions. The ques­tion of how works will be go down in art his­to­ry is cen­tral—hence the at­tempts by big col­lec­tors to trans­form their hol­dings in­to mu­seums. If all this was just pri­vate, why would they want to ex­hi­bit their col­lec­tions in mu­seums as if they were fo­re­ver? Al­so, why is it pos­sible to pay death du­ty by be­quea­thing art­works to the state? The mu­seum is im­por­tant be­cause it gua­ran­tees and sta­bi­lizes the po­si­tion of ar­tists in art his­to­ry, out­side the mar­ket. LB A com­mon dis­course on the re­la­tions bet­ween art and the eco­no­my consists in se­pa­ra­ting the eco­no­mic di­men­sion from the in­ter­est of the works as re­vea­led by his­to­rians. We connect these things in two ways: on the one hand, by sho­wing that what de­ter­mines the price of works to­day is the connec­tion bet­ween the mar­ket and the ap­pre­cia­tions of col­lec­tors, cri­tics, cu­ra­tors and his­to­rians. Or­di­na­ry fi­nan­cial pro­ducts don’t come with that kind of gua­ran­tee. On the other, this fron­tier se­pa­ra­ting the ex­hi­bi­tion room where people talk art and the ba­ckroom where they talk about mo­ney is ab­so­lu­te­ly vi­tal to main­tai­ning the prices of these things and hides the fact that a whole set of people are wor­king to gua­ran­tee what we call their me­ta­price, that is, the es­ti­ma­ted price as op­po­sed to the price that is paid. A third ele­ment is that there is so­me­thing am­bi­guous about auc­tions which re­sembles the contra­dic­tion in ca­pi­ta­lism iden­ti­fied by Wal­ler­stein,(3) na­me­ly, that beyond the bid­ding war en­ga­ged in by those who edge up auc­tion prices, it is in their mu­tual in­ter­est, in this lit­tle world of big buyers, that the prices of works should re­main high.

Hence the pu­bli­ci­ty around those in­cre­dible prices. It’s in the par­ti­ci­pants’ in­ter­est to keep prices high: what they have bought must keep its va­lue, and they are all each other’s hos­tages. AE Yes, but with this par­ti­cu­la­ri­ty, that ma­ny of the prices are not known, es­pe­cial­ly for sales by bro­kers. Hence the im­por­tance of auc­tion re­sults, which set bench­marks. This rea­so­ning re­minds me of what Marc Au­gé ob­ser­ved about the im­me­dia­cy of news gi­ving each of us the im­pres­sion we are wit­nesses to His­to­ry. Just as it is flat­te­ring for a TV vie­wer to think of them­selves as a wit­ness of an event that will be consi­de­red im­por­tant in the fu­ture, so it is gra­ti­fying for a col­lec­tor to say that he was one of the first to see a bo­dy of work that will be dee­med “his­to­ric.” AE Po­wer re­la­tions are in­vol­ved in the wri­ting of this his­to­ry. The ex­hi­bi­tion Mo­der­ni­té plu­rielle (4) was in­ter­es­ting from this point of view be­cause it contras­ted dif­ferent ways of wri­ting art his­to­ry. Col­lec­tors seek to im­pose the ar­tists they have in­ves­ted in and, in this po­wer struggle it is pos­sible for brilliant ar­tists to end up being mar­gi­na­li­zed. LB Still, dis­pla­ce­ments do oc­cur when a mar­ket is sa­tu­ra­ted. If you are among the first on­to the mar­ket for a cer­tain kind of ob­ject, you can find a lot of things at low prices. Then there comes a time when you can’t go on col­lec­ting be­cause these things are too ex­pen­sive. The lo­gi­cal thing is to slight­ly dis­place the se­lec­tion cri­te­ria, and the­re­fore to push up a mi­nor mas­ter or other school that hadn’t pre­vious­ly been ve­ry high­ly va­lued. In the field of he­ri­tage and tou­rism you look at the case of La­guiole, a vil­lage that sells a fa­mous knife. You ex­plain that its groun­ding in the past, which bes­tows va­lue on the pro­duct, ne­ces­sa­ri­ly ge­ne­rates a nar­ra­tive. In the case of La­guiole, the his­to­ry of the knife as you can read it, for example, in the ca­ta­logues, is pret­ty far out. Dis­course is ne­ces­sa­ry, but in ma­ny cases that dis­course is more of a dog­ma. (Maybe that’s not so much the case with contem­po­ra­ry art—hmm, come to think of it…). AE We need a sto­ry and the per­son wri­ting the sto­ry va­ries de­pen­ding on the ob­jects or the places. In the case of La­guiole, not ma­ny aca­de­mics have writ­ten about the knives, so the sto­ry is control­led more by the sales people. They are free to open a mu­seum next to the shop. In he­ri­tage sites, where sub­si­dies are more in­vol­ved, there is a great role for his­to­rians and an­thro­po­lo­gists, while for contem­po­ra­ry art there are cri­tics and cu­ra­tors, etc. And there’s the ope­ra­tion whe­re­by ar­tists turn their own lives in­to a nar­ra­tive be­cause in a sense they have to trade in their own per­son. In a recent ar­ticle about the Pi­nault col­lec­tion mo­ving in­to the for­mer Bourse du Com­merce in Pa­ris I read that they were loo­king for a new name for this new mu­seum-type ve­nue be­cause “‘Bourse du Com­merce’ is not ve­ry sui­table when tal­king about culture”! That is ty­pi­cal of the blind­ness you men­tion. That being said, your pre­sen­ted the whole de­ve­lop­ment of the group foun­ded by Fran­çois Pi­nault as exem­pla­ry. AE The name change, from Pi­nault-Prin­temps-La Re­doute to Ke­ring, shows the break in the group’s ac­ti­vi­ty. Ori­gi­nal­ly dea­ling in a raw ma­te­rial, wood, then in the dis­tri­bu­tion of stan­dard ob­jects, it has to­tal­ly conver­ted to the luxu­ry in­dus­try, and it is di­rec­ted by so­meone who has him­self gone in­to the world of contem­po­ra­ry art in a big way. It is in­ter­es­ting to em­pha­size— we keep co­ming back to his­to­ry—that if in the in­dus­trial world you can al­ways create a brand from scratch, the same is not pos­sible in luxu­ry. A brand gets bought be­cause it is lin­ked to a his­to­ry, the his­to­ry of the brand it­self or of the per­son who crea­ted it. What is pur­cha­sed is the sto­ry lin­ked to the name and it is this sto­ry that jus­ti­fies the ve­ry high price of things that in fact cost ve­ry lit­tle to pro­duce. LB Ac­tual in­no­va­tion is ve­ry rare and what is cal­led “crea­tion” is usual­ly just the art of rein­ter­pre­ting.


That re­mark chimes with Hans Bel­ting’s theo­ry—and the prin­ciple of post­mo­der­nism more ge­ne­ral­ly—that contem­po­ra­ry art re­flects the his­to­ry of art but does not ex­tend it. You present the “col­lec­tion form” as a mo­del. The lo­gic of a col­lec­tion is the quest for dif­fe­rence through the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of the same. That re­minds me of the fa­shion for ob­jects pre­sen­ted as “col­lec­tor’s items.” The ar­ticle I quo­ted pre­dic­ted that in­vi­ta­tions to the inau­gu­ra­tion of the Pi­nault Col­lec­tion at the Bourse du Com­merce would sur­ely be­come “col­lec­tor’s items.” LB Take the wee­kend sup­ple­ment of Le Monde: in it you will find the cult of the cult ob­ject. The kind of watch worn by such and such a star in 1950, not to men­tion charm ho­tels and de­si­gner fur­ni­ture. We wan­ted to move on from the ana­lyses being made in the 1960s by people like Bau­drillard, Barthes and Bour­dieu, ana­ly­zing that com­mer­cial rea­li­ty that sur­rounds us, even more so to­day than fif­ty years ago. In fact, this has been much less ana­ly­zed. The dif­fe­rence is that as Bau­drillard, Barthes and Bour­dieu saw it there was con­su­mer so­cie­ty, mea­ning the idea of pas­sive people whose de­sires were sti­mu­la­ted by ca­pi­tal via ad­ver­ti­sing. We try to show that we are in a so­cie­ty of com­merce where eve­ryone is for­ced to be at once an ac­tive sel­ler, buyer, see­ker and of­fe­rer, and even of­fer them­selves. The so­cie­tal mo­del is the­re­fore ve­ry dif­ferent. AE Why does an ob­ject that is less ex­pen­sive when se­cond­hand gain in va­lue over time if so­meone de­cides that it’s a col­lec­tor’s item? Af­ter all, it’s the same ob­ject. This al­lo­wed us to shift our pers­pec­tive in re­la­tion to the dis­course on work, which is usual­ly consi­de­red from the stand­point of an in­dus­trial eco­no­my, no­ta­bly in dis­cus­sions on wor­king time and the like, whe­reas in the eco­no­my of en­rich­ment, for ma­ny of the pro­ta­go­nists wor­king time is one with li­ving time. Wri­ters and ar­tists have des­cri­bed the “col­lec­tion form.” You men­tion Le Cou­sin

Pons by Bal­zac. LB Do you re­mem­ber the ex­hi­bi­tion Ils col­lec­tionnent,( 5), in which An­nette Mes­sa­ger took part. There is al­so a ve­ry strange book by Ana­tole France, The Crime of Syl­vestre Bon­nard. One of the cha­rac­ters, a mem­ber of the Ins­ti­tut de France, is loo­king for a ma­nus­cript of The Golden Le­gend, and ano­ther is a rich Rus­sian prince who has star­ted a col­lec­tion of match­boxes and ends up on a dirt track in Ita­ly loo­king for a ve­ry rare box made by a small bu­si­ness tu­cked away in the moun­tains of Si­ci­ly. It’s a no­vel about what we be­come at­ta­ched to, about the va­lue of things, about the re­la­tion bet­ween the ma­nus­cript of The Golden Le­gend and match­boxes. You show how eve­ry­thing can be­come “he­ri­tage.” In The Map and the Ter­ri­to­ry Mi­chel Houel­le­becq ima­gines a France whol­ly trans­for­med in­to a pro­tec­ted na­tu­ral park.

AE What so­cio­lo­gists and eco­no­mists can’t des­cribe, a no­ve­list can. Ma­ny people say he was exag­ge­ra­ting, but no. People are in de­nial about this rea­li­ty. LB Be­hind Houel­le­becq’s ideas, though, there is a kind of nos­tal­gia for au­then­ti­ci­ty. He is cri­ti­cal, sure, but in the spi­rit of the Frank­furt School, of Ador­no, with re­gard to the au­then­ti­ci­ty of the “coun­try” as Hei­deg­ger would have cal­led it, and not with re­gard to its trans­for­ma­tion in­to a ter­ri­to­ry whose “mar­ke­ting” is ba­sed on a pa­rade of au­then­ti­ci­ty. AE The eco­no­my of en­rich­ment res­ts on names of per­sons or ter­ri­to­ries that car­ry sto­ries. The name be­comes a brand and the is­sue is to know who owns this name as a brand liable to create wealth. One of the examples we take is the vil­lage of La­guiole. Can the name of a vil­lage be­come a re­gis­te­red tra­de­mark? Who re­gis­ters it and how is it va­lo­ri­zed? There was a conflict be­cause an en­tre­pre­neur from Val de Marne [east of Pa­ris] re­gis­te­red the name and the in­ha­bi­tants of the vil­lage took him to court. Now, the judge held that the name La­guiole was ge­ne­ric be­cause ma­ny of the La­guiole knives were in fact made in Thiers, and the per­son who had re­gis­te­red the name could conti­nue to use it for other pro­ducts, such as watches. Af­ter this trial, ho­we­ver, there was a law ex­ten­ding pro­tec­ted geo­gra­phi­cal names, pre­vious­ly li­mi­ted to food pro­ducts, to ma­nu­fac­tu­red items such as Ca­lais lace, Mar­seille soap, etc. You men­tion The Ac­cur­sed Share by Georges Ba­taille, but then take a dif­ferent po­si­tion. LB The ac­cur­sed share is ex­pen­di­ture for no­thing, luxu­ry. The cri­tique of ca­pi­ta­lism, like eco­no­mics, ba­sed it­self on a mo­del of ca­pi­ta­lism that be­lon­ged to in­dus­trial so­cie­ty and mass pro­duc­tion. Star­ting in the 1920s and 30s, when stan­dar­di­zed form de­ve­lo­ped, ma­ny cri­tics loo­ked to art, luxu­ry, ex­pen­di­ture, pot­latch, etc. as a means of get­ting away from ca­pi­ta­lism. Consi­de­ring that stan­dar­di­zed form was going to take over, that hu­mans them­selves were going to be stan­dar­di­zed as in Cha­plin and Hux­ley, people loo­ked for a place where it was pos­sible to live hu­ma­ne­ly and cri­ti­cize this in­va­sion by ca­pi­ta­lism. We have wor­ked on the fact that in shif­ting ca­pi­ta­lism has ta­ken over this out­side space to make it a ge­ne­ra­tor of pro­fit. We have tried to keep away from the mo­ra­li­zing cri­tique of com­mo­di­ties and com­merce that Left-Marxist cri­tique drew from as­ce­tic forms of Ca­tho­li­cism in the late ni­ne­teenth cen­tu­ry—from Léon Bloy, for example. We are not against com­merce, but we have adop­ted Brau­del’s point of view, which consists in dis­tin­gui­shing bet­ween ca­pi­ta­lism and mer­can­tile ac­ti­vi­ties. What dis­tin­gui­shed ca­pi­ta­lism is not the fact of com­mo­di­ties, but the concen­tra­tion of pro­fit.


Your last chap­ters look at the pro­fes­sio­nals in this eco­no­my, and no­ta­bly the people you call, in a broad sense of the word, “crea­tors,” whose fra­gi­li­ty you show. LB I did a lot of work on the his­to­ry of these so­cio-pro­fes­sio­nal ca­te­go­ries, and some of them are ex­tre­me­ly vague. (They are less so when they are ta­ken un­der the wing of the state, be­cause col­lec­tive wor­king agree­ments at­tri­bute and fix names.) Some eve­ry­day names, such as bo­ho, hips­ter or crea­tive, are al­so ve­ry vague. This va­gue­ness is found among the ac­tors them­selves and in their prac­tice. Ima­gine so­meone who has done art school and finds her­self de­si­gning in­vi­ta­tion cards that are meant to be kept as “col­lec­tor’s items” and who at the same time is wor­king on a mo­vie pro­ject with a friend. Is she a prole or a crea­tor? AE The in­comes of “crea­tors” are not lo­wer than in other sec­tors of ac­ti­vi­ty, but their way of life is ex­haus­ting be­cause they are for­ced to have se­ve­ral ac­ti­vi­ties, since they don’t know what they will be doing next week and be­cause they work on se­ve­ral pro­jects at the same time, some of which won’t go anyw­here. And as we said, they have to sell them­selves. Crea­ting your own lit­tle bu­si­ness, loo­king for sub­si­dies, pre­pa­ring ap­pli­ca­tions, etc. means lots of time-consu­ming work. LB Going against the dis­course on in­di­vi­dua­lism, I am sure that in these mi­lieus the time consu­med by ma­na­ging one’s pro­fes­sio­nal life is en­or­mous and that there isn’t much left over for col­lec­tive or po­li­ti­cal life. If you en­vi­sion the ques­tion of pre­ca­rious­ness on­ly in terms of ma­te­rial stan­dards of li­ving this pro­blem will not be ve­ry vi­sible. There are huge dif­fe­rences here, de­pen­ding on whe­ther you have a lit­tle bit of in­he­ri­ted wealth, if on­ly an apart­ment, which is a great source of in­equa­li­ty no­wa­days. Some lives are construc­ted at what is ve­ry great phy­si­cal and emo­tio­nal cost. Are there real­ly that ma­ny “crea­tors”? LB Think of the old bour­geoi­sie. In the old days, you might for example be an en­gi­neer. In the ge­ne­ra­tion aged bet­ween twen­ty and for­ty, they might be a li­bra­rian, a film­ma­ker or an ar­tist. This is a trans­for­ma­tion of what was cal­led the bour­geoi­sie. Who are the “new ren­tiers”? AE If Tho­mas Pi­ket­ty has clear­ly shown the growth in in­equa­li­ty, with an in­crea­sin­gly rich up­per class, we ex­plain that one of the lat­ter’s pro­blems is how to stock its wealth. Pro­per­ty has to keep its me­ta­price and be main­tai­ned. The na­ture of such pro­per­ty may al­so change. It can be vi­si­ted, or what have you. Ano­ther ele­ment that is un­de­res­ti­ma­ted, in that the em­pha­sis is put on pro­per­ty when es­ti­ma­ting wealth, is the va­lue of ob­jects. One of the concerns of their ow­ners is to main­tain their me­ta­price. LB We make a dis­tinc­tion bet­ween he­ri­tage and ca­pi­tal. When you own so­me­thing, how do you main­tain its me­ta­price, how­do you make it work to bring you mo­ney, how do you en­sure its li­qui­di­ty? Some things, such as pos­tage stamps for example, once played this role. To­day other types of goods lend them­selves to this, such as watches. AE Luxu­ry ob­jects such as lea­ther goods by the big brands, or watches say, play a no­te­wor­thy role in auc­tions no­wa­days, a phe­no­me­non that didn’t exist a few de­cades ago. These ob­jects can be sold all around the world be­cause people eve­ryw­here know what they are. LB The mass eco­no­my, as its name says, was made for the masses. The idea was to sell as ma­ny ob­jects as pos­sible with slim pro­fit mar­gins to people who were not ve­ry rich and who were gi­ven the cre­dit to buy. In the si­tua­tion that in­ter­ests us, it is more a case of the ex­ploi­ta­tion of the rich by the rich. This ge­ne­ra­tion of riches is al­most au­to­no­mous with re­gard to the rest of so­cie­ty.

Trans­la­tion, C. Pen­war­den (1) This is the term used by the au­thors for per­son­nel em­ployed in main­te­nance, guar­ding, re­cep­tion, etc. in cultu­ral bu­si­ness who are as­ked to show res­pon­si­ve­ness and amia­bi­li­ty that “evoke the ser­vants of yes­te­ryear.” (2) This walk was laid out on the old rail­way on the Lo­wer West Side in Man­hat­tan. (3) Ame­ri­can so­cio­lo­gist Im­ma­nuel Wal­ler­stein, a theo­re­ti­cian of the ca­pi­ta­list glo­bal eco­no­my. (4) Mo­der­nizes plu­rielles de 1905 à 1970, Oct. 23,2013–26 Jan. 26, 2015, Centre Pom­pi­dou. Han­ging of the col­lec­tion bri­ning out the glo­bal na­ture of art. (5) Ils col­lec­tionnent, ex­hi­bi­tion held in 1974 at the Mu­sée des Arts Dé­co­ra­tifs de Pa­ris fea­tu­ring col­lec­tions of all kinds of ob­jects, in­clu­ding some as­sem­bled by ar­tists. Luc Bol­tans­ki’s (1940) ma­ny books in­clude Mys­te­ries

and Cons­pi­ra­cies, De­tec­tive Sto­ries ([ 2012] Po­li­ty Press, 2014), and On Cri­tique, a So­cio­lo­gy of

Eman­ci­pa­tion ([2009] Po­li­ty Press, 2011), both pu­bli­shed by Gal­li­mard NRF. Ar­naud Es­querre (1975) is the au­thor, among others books, of Théo­rie de évé­ne­ments ex­tra­ter­restres (2016) and Pré­dire, l’as­tro­lo­gie en France au XXIe siè

cle (2013), both pu­bli­shed by Fayard. The two au­thors pre­vious­ly pu­bli­shed Vers l’ex­trême,

ex­ten­sion des do­maines de la droite, De­hors 2014.

Le cir­cuit sur le toit de l’usine Fiat Lin­got­to à Tu­rin dans les an­nées 1920. Roof­top ra­cing track, Fiat Lin­got­to fac­to­ry, Tu­rin, in the 1920s La Pi­na­co­thèque Gio­van­ni et Ma­rel­la Agnel­li du Lin­got­to, dite l’Écrin, à Tu­rin, par Ren­zo Pia­no, dans le cadre de la re­con­ver­sion ar­chi­tec­tu­rale de l’usine (1983-2003). Agnel­li art gal­le­ry by Ren­zo Pia­no

Ar­naud Es­querre et Luc Bol­tans­ki

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