As Raymond Williams mentioned about that, the word “art” which had originally simply meant a skill, when the time passed, it became something associated with particular virtue and special type of skill, so to say imaginative of creative skill, and product of that skill as well (Oakley, 2009). Even though, Williams considers art and culture as some sort of commodity, according to Ross, he showed inattention to the parts that related to world of labour (Ross, 2008). Oakley interpreted the issue by this means that the artists are not referred as labours is because of that art is seen as a separate place from the everyday life with the idea of autonomy in the art and the power behind it (Oakley, 2009).
On the other hand, Banks said that, the artists are supporting these two qualities in different explanations (2007). He says artists want that their work is to be demanded and paid for, because they are in need of meeting their living expenses, while on the other hand they are resisting the reduction of their work to a commodity (Banks, 2007).
Throsby is approaching to this commodity situation as emphasizing the economic value of artistic work as well as the cultural value of artworks that cannot be expressed financially (Hutter & Throsby, 2007). He says the determinants of the economic value of an artwork depend on many factors, besides its evaluated cultural value. As it is explained in the second chapter of this thesis, the value chain aims to do exactly this evaluation and justifications. In this value chain the emergence of the aforementioned artwork is based on economic needs and justifications of the artists. In other words, the existence of the cultural value is best seen while the financing freedom criteria of the artist are provided (Hutter & Throsby, 2007). At this point, production processes which includes the whole phases as well as artistic labour, become part of the financial evaluation.
In a modern sense calling art as labour has long been a subject to the debates in the world of art and academy, while it is considered as a commodity in view of the fact that the art has some sort of sacred presence. On the other hand, even though the artists are seemed as if they were too individually independent and pay attention to their business, they participate and take role in the social movements. The embrace of the working class identity by art brought with it a formal inclusion in the workers’ movements in the mid-19th century. Artists had become seen as an identity not only in labour movements, in which better pay, legal rights, life securities were seeking for, but also in many social movements. This new identity also challenged the dominant status quo that attributed to artists before (Apostol, 2015). Realist Manifesto which was established by Gustave Courbet in 1855 just after Communist Manifesto, Avant Garde art, and Dadaist movements could be seen as evidences of these changes in the artworld.
After Courbet’s declaration which is a call for artists to take possession and control of their artworks from museums and collectors and establishment of Salon de Refusees against the artworld caused paradigm shift in the field of economic relations. Because, art was the thing where bourgeoisies made investments for the increase of their capitals(Apostol, 2015). Courbet’s call separates the artists position from the institutions of bourgeoises and its representations (art institutions at those times) and thus set the artist free to chose their political position in the society. Additionally, support of artists to the labour movements put artists in the position besides labour class and since the second half of the 19th century, the terms artist, art worker and activist were used interchangeably in the context of the Artists unions (Apostol, 2015).
On the other hand, if we look at to the scene from macro level, backstage of art fairs, shows, biennales, before the consumption stage, there are many different actors; artists, interns, assistants, handlers, curators who research, plan and manage these stages starting from building concepts to collecting necessary materials. So, in the end, the production is the results of artistic labour and creativity. Today, the fact that the art institutions and the museums are the area of conflict and struggle is an indicator of the ownership of self-labour (Apostol, 2015).