commodification: A term derived from Marxist analyses of the social forces that guide the production and sale of products, or commodities. Since the Renaissance, artworks have been commodities paid for by religious or royal patrons. By the 20th century, art production had become entangled in a complex web composed of collectors, auction houses, galleries, and museums. In the tradition of Dada, 1960s artists feeling constrained by increasing commercialism sought to create unmarketable works, giving rise to conceptual, political, performance, and earth art. Recent artists concerned with issues of originality, authorship, and camp, are indirectly addressing issues of commodification and canon formation.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

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