The Arts, New Growth Theory, and Economic Development
Source: National Endowment for the Arts
New growth theory argues that, in advanced economies, economic growth stems less from the acquisition of additional capital and more from innovation and new ideas. On May 10, 2012, the Brookings Institution and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) hosted a symposium examining new growth theory as a tool for assessing the impact of art and culture on the U.S. economy, including the theory that cities play a major role in facilitating economic growth. The symposium featured papers jointly commissioned by the NEA Office of Research & Analysis and Michael Rushton, the co-editor of the Journal of Cultural Economics. The presentations were moderated by experts from Brookings, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Genetic Analysis of Floral Symmetry in Van Gogh’s Sunflowers Reveals Independent Recruitment of CYCLOIDEA Genes in the Asteraceae
The genetic basis of floral symmetry is a topic of great interest because of its effect on pollinator behavior and, consequently, plant diversification. The Asteraceae, which is the largest family of flowering plants, is an ideal system in which to study this trait, as many species within the family exhibit a compound inflorescence containing both bilaterally symmetric (i.e., zygomorphic) and radially symmetric (i.e., actinomorphic) florets. In sunflower and related species, the inflorescence is composed of a single whorl of ray florets surrounding multiple whorls of disc florets. We show that in double-flowered (dbl) sunflower mutants (in which disc florets develop bilateral symmetry), such as those captured by Vincent van Gogh in his famous nineteenth-century sunflower paintings, an insertion into the promoter region of a CYCLOIDEA (CYC)-like gene (HaCYC2c) that is normally expressed specifically in WT rays is instead expressed throughout the inflorescence, presumably resulting in the observed loss of actinomorphy. This same gene is mutated in two independent tubular-rayed (tub) mutants, though these mutations involve apparently recent transposon insertions, resulting in little or no expression and radialization of the normally zygomorphic ray florets. Interestingly, a phylogenetic analysis of CYC-like genes from across the family suggests that different paralogs of this fascinating gene family have been independently recruited to specify zygomorphy in different species within the Asteraceae.
Human cortical activity evoked by the assignment of authenticity when viewing works of art
Source: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
The expertise of others is a major social influence on our everyday decisions and actions. Many viewers of art, whether expert or naïve, are convinced that the full esthetic appreciation of an artwork depends upon the assurance that the work is genuine rather than fake. Rembrandt portraits provide an interesting image set for testing this idea, as there is a large number of them and recent scholarship has determined that quite a few fakes and copies exist. Use of this image set allowed us to separate the brain’s response to images of genuine and fake pictures from the brain’s response to external advice about the authenticity of the paintings. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, viewing of artworks assigned as “copy,” rather than “authentic,” evoked stronger responses in frontopolar cortex (FPC), and right precuneus, regardless of whether the portrait was actually genuine. Advice about authenticity had no direct effect on the cortical visual areas responsive to the paintings, but there was a significant psycho-physiological interaction between the FPC and the lateral occipital area, which suggests that these visual areas may be modulated by FPC. We propose that the activation of brain networks rather than a single cortical area in this paradigm supports the art scholars’ view that esthetic judgments are multi-faceted and multi-dimensional in nature.
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Paula Modersohn-Becker, the challenges of pregnancy and the weight of tradition
Source: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine
Paula Modersohn-Becker, widely considered to have been one of the most important independent Expressionist painters of the early twentieth century, was thirty-one years old when she gave birth to her first child. Following the then-common practice of putting women to bed rest for two-four weeks after delivery, she died of massive pulmonary embolism when she was first allowed to stand, eighteen days after giving birth. Paula had foreseen her death at a young age and was apprehensive about her pregnancy, yet she painted herself as pregnant in her best known self-portrait, thus underlining the importance of the pregnancy in her life. In the light of knowledge available at the time, the authors present a brief discussion of the life and death of Paula Modersohn-Becker as a reflection on the potential dangers of blindly following conventional wisdom in the medical profession.
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Assessing the illegal trade in cultural property from a public policy perspective
Source: RAND Corporation
The aim of this research is to explore new ways of curtailing the illegal trade in cultural property. Despite a range of legislative and policy interventions, the trade in illicit art and antiquities continues to flourish, resulting in damage to the arts, scholarship and heritage. Through an exploration of existing intervention tools, two case studies and a set of key informant interviews, this study demonstrates the existing difficulties in curtailing the market in cultural property and explores the potential for new policy interventions. More specifically, we map the supply chain for the illegal trade in cultural property and explore the failures of current policy interventions through two case studies, the Medici trading cartel and the Beit collection robberies. We conclude with a number of research and policy conclusions.
Dynamic Price Dependence of Canadian and International Art Markets: An Empirical Analysis
Source: Research Papers in Economics
Although the market for Canadian paintings is now of substantial magnitude, with several works having recently sold for well over a million dollars, it remains true that with very few exceptions, the works of Canadian painters are bought and sold only in Canada and held only by Canadian collectors. This market can thus be viewed as almost exclusively local, and it is therefore not clear that there should be any linkage between price movements for Canadian art and those for the mainstream international market in old master, impressionist, and modern art. This paper investigates the presence and nature of such time series dependence econometrically, both in terms of long term trends as reflected in the co-integrating relationship between Canadian and the international market, and in terms of short-run co-movements as represented in correlations. The possibility that the local market “follows” the international one is also considered through an analysis of Granger-Causality. For Canadian art prices we use a new hedonic index that has been computed using an updated version of the data set of Hodgson and Vorkink (2004), while for the international prices, we use an index provided by Mei and Moses.
See also: Age-Price Profiles for Canadian Painters at Auction (PDF)
Dare You Buy A Henry Moore on eBay? Statistics can tell you what to avoid (PDF)
Source: Significance (American Statistical Association)
When the rarefied world of modern art sales meets the digital age, almost anything is possible. You, too, can buy a Henry Moore on eBay. But it is risky. The old, high-commission auction-houses have rivals, but you will need statistics to guide you.
Hat tip: PW