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January 2021, English
12×19 cm, 64 pages, 3 b/w ill., softcover with dust jacket
ISBN 978-3-95679-525-1
Institut für Kunstkritik

In response to recent discussions about the value assigned to artworks, art critic and theorist Isabelle Graw introduces the term “value reflection.” Rather than an objective quality, value reflection is the potential for the specific artistic labor expended for artworks to be found in them. She argues that an artwork can actually reflect on its value despite being defined by it. This book focuses on the artistic production of three individuals—writer Francis Ponge and artists Jack Whitten and Banksy—and engages with the different types of value reflection detected in their work. Graw distinguishes between an explicit (Ponge), immanent (Whitten), and seemingly destructive (Banksy) approach to value.


Three Cases of Value Reflection extends the themes found in Graw’s seminal book High Price, in which she questioned the dichotomy between art and the market as well as the notion that market value is equal to artistic value. By carefully combining a contextual, sociohistorical approach with close readings of the work of each case study, Graw demonstrates how art-historical and theoretical ambitions can, and must, go hand in hand.

Isabelle Graw is the publisher of the journal Texte zur Kunst, which she cofounded with Stefan Germer (1958–1998) in 1990, and professor of art history and art theory at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste – Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main. Her previous books include In Another World: Notes, 2014–2017 (2020), The Love of Painting: Genealogy of a Success Medium (2018), High Price: Art Between the Market and Celebrity Culture (2010), and Die bessere Hälfte: Künstlerinnen des 20. und 21. Jahrhunderts (2003). Graw lives in Berlin.