Critique of the Political Economy of Art

Call for papers to be published in the thematic section Critique of the Political Economy of Art in the journal of modern and contemporary art and architecture Život umjetnosti (104/2019).

Guest editor: Nikola Dedić, Faculty of Music, University of Arts in Belgrade


The relationship between art and capitalist production of commodities is one of the fundamental issues in Marxist theories of art. However, Marxist analyses of art have largely avoided dealing with this problem from the perspective of Marx's critique of political economy, i.e. from the perspective of his mature works, above all his Capital. Instead of an analysis focusing on the relationship between artistic work and capital, or the place of artistic production within the capitalist relations of production, Marxist theory of art has largely approached the problem of art from philosophical, sociological, aesthetic, and cultural standpoints. This has resulted in filtering the specifically Marxist theoretical issues through such non-Marxist prisms, where the very specificity of these issues has been lost.

The aim of this thematic section is therefore to address this “blind spot” in Marxist theory, assuming that there is a need for a fundamental critique and reformulation of the present Marxist analysis of art from the angle of Marx’s political economy, and that no Marxist theory of art can be elaborated without answering some of the following questions:

  • How can one analyse the relationship between artistic labour and artistic production in relation to the conceptual mechanism of Marx’s Capital (and the surrounding texts)?
  • Can the concepts of surplus value, profit, profit rate, interest rate, and rent be applied to interpret art?
  • What is the relationship between artistic production and the labour theory of value?
  • What type of productive relations can be identified in art production? Is artistic labour productive or non-productive?
  • What is the relationship between the financialization of art and capitalist crises?

[From Nikola Dedić's call for contributions]


Authors are invited to submit an abstract of their scholarly paper (max. 600 words) with a basic bibliography and a list of keywords, as well as a short biography (max. 300 words) by e-mail to The submission deadline is December 14, 2018.

All applicants will be informed by December 21, 2018 on the preliminary selection results. The deadline for submitting the final manuscript is February 15, 2019. All accepted contributions will undergo the process of double blind peer review.

Illustration: Marijan Molnar, Das Kapital / Die Kunst, 2016.

For all questions and additional information, please contact:

Vaša narudžba

Pregledajte košaricu

In this section