1) Develop an experimental and modular multimedia course program entitled, tentatively entitled Economics of Art. The technical part of the course that needs further development is web-based and will focus on art as an investment. It uses some of the concepts and statistical data from the J. Paul Getty Provenance Index Database and the Duke DALMI Database, which will be further developed as part of the project. It is our intention to add the web-based, modular course component to the Duke undergraduate and graduate curriculum.
2) Design a team project that studies the driving factors for the irrational premium paid for the more significant works of art by period, geographical area and clusters of buyers. This is an overarching research project and an extension of already existing Art & Markets research of De Marchi and Van Miegroet. The partial and sequential results will be assessed each semester and published in the Duke DALMI e-journal, which will be developed. A central focus of the project will be the role of irrationality in purchasing art and related investment decisions.
3) Design a legal research project to identify artworks and imagery that are free of copyright protection, which allows free use of their related imagery and artistic concepts, establish rules to track such artworks going forward, and analyze relative long-term economic benefits to the artists, their heirs and financial supporters from adopting copyright-free status for their artworks.
4) Organize Art, Law & Markets Workshops involving both Duke undergraduate and graduate students, as well as members of the international network.
5) Most experimental part of the project is the research and development of Master Collector: an Art Market Simulation Game, a web-based network that allows users to form virtual art collections according to rules that are consistent with some of the dynamics of the real world art market. In its early stages the network may involve minimal rules of play that will serve to create incentives for users, who may not be inclined to amass a virtual collection merely for the sake of doing so. The development of this network will provide an opportunity for collaboration between scholars in the humanities and the hard sciences. Once the network is activated, the collecting behaviors exhibited by its users will provide an invaluable data set on topics such as the preferences of virtual art collectors, the evolution of collecting practices over time, strategies of acquisition and trade and the popularity of artworks within a given set. Data on topics like these will be a useful resource for scholars in such fields as Art History, History, Law, Sociology, Economics and Museum Studies. Timeframe: ongoing, start 1 January 2012.