“Visual Arts Management” covers art sale taxation, insurance, transportation, customs and much more. There are sections on museums, curatorship, primary art, secondary market and cultural heritage compliance.
The book is based on Taylor’s 20 years of experience in the art business as a transporter, art advisor, appraiser and art forensics expert. He did much of the research for it while serving as the Leon Levy Fellow at the Center for the History of Collecting at The Frick Collection.
Taylor, now the Grosland Director of the Master in Gallery Management & Exhibits Specialization (MGES), created the book because there was no such text available to his students.
“In order to advance in a highly competitive field, one really does need that additional educational, professional training—which programs like ours can offer. That said, with the growth of these programs, there still wasn’t a book that could be used to teach it,” Taylor said.
“People like me were just using bits and pieces of different readings. There was a shortage of material that explained the art world and how it functions,” Taylor said.
“Previous generations would have learned it from the ropes. But there’s been enough of a history of these businesses as well as academic study of them that has led to us being able to offer a sensible curriculum,” Taylor said.
Each chapter ends with terms students should know and a case study illuminating the chapter topics.
The connoisseurship chapter, for example, concludes with a story about the collapse of the Knoedler Gallery, formerly New York’s oldest and most prestigious gallery, due to waves of forgery cases.
“‘Visual Arts Management’ has been a great resource for me as a student and professional,” said Nelsa Burkett, a first-year MGES student and the curator at Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum. “The book provides clear and concise references for many aspects of the art market, complete with case studies and definitions of key terms.”
“As curator for a small cultural institution, I have to have knowledge of a huge variety of topics concerning collections management, and ‘Visual Arts Management’ helps to provide that grounding. For me, the best aspect of the book is Jeff’s ability to quickly make sense out of difficult business concepts while providing background on how and why policies developed to become part of the art business today,” Burkett said.