Mme Sophie Cras

Maître de conférences

Histoire et civilisations : histoire des mondes modernes, histoire du monde contemporain ; de l'art ; de la musique

Affectation(s)

HiCSA : Histoire culturelle et sociale de l'art (EA 4100)

EHAAS : École d'histoire de l'art et d'archéologie de la Sorbonne

À propos de moi

Trained in financial economics and art history, I research the intersections between visual art and economics. I am interested in the economics of art and its market, with an emphasis on the economic knowledge and practices of artists themselves. I also study the way economists mobilize images, as well as the creative and critical view that artists provide of the economy of their time.

I have held fellowships at such institutions as Smithsonian American Art Museum, Ecole française de Rome or Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte. My work has been distinguished by a number of prizes and awards such as the Chancellerie des Universités de Paris dissertation prize, the Terra Foundation translation grant, the French Voice Award or the Olga Fradiss book prize. My publications appear in American ArtTexte zur KunstLa revue de l'art and Archiv für Mediengeschichte, among others.

In The artist as Economist. Art and Capitalism in the 1960s (Yale University Press, 2019, translated from the French: L'économie à l'épreuve de l'art. Art et capitalisme dans les années 1960, Presses du réel and Centre allemand d'histoire de l'art, 2018) I studied how artists in the 1960s created works that critiqued, reshaped, and sometimes reinforced the spirit of capitalism. Andy Warhol and Larry Rivers incorporated the iconography of printed currency into their paintings, while Ray Johnson sought to disrupt and reinvent circuits of commerce with his mail art collages. Yves Klein, Edward Kienholz and Marcel Broodthaers critiqued conceptions of artistic and monetary value, as Lee Lozano and Dennis Oppenheim engaged directly with the New York Stock Exchange. 

More recently, I published a critical anthology of artists' writings about the economy since the 19th century (Écrits d'artistes sur l'économie, une anthologie. De modestes propositionsParis : B42, 2022). Starting with the trajectories of writers who belonged, simultaneously or successively, to the fields of art and and economics (such as John Ruskin, Vassily Kandinsky, Robert Filliou or Charlotte Posenenske), I expand the scope to demonstrate that some artists developed a form of economic knowledge outside the realm of expertise of economists. They turned their practical experience and knowledge of the economics of art into a laboratory to rethink political economy in general. 

Recherche

Thèmes de recherche

- Contemporary art (especially 1950s-1980s)

- Economic themes in contemporary art; economic and financial approaches to art; notion of value in art

- Esthetics and use of images in economic knowledge

- Transatlantic exchange, art history mapping

- Disciplinary and methodological crossings

Publications

Books

English translation: The Artist as Eonomist. Art and Capitalism in the 1960s, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019

 

Peer-reviewed/refereed articles in academic journals

Partly republished in : Natasha Degen (ed.), The Market, Whitechapel : Documents of Contemporary Art (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013)

Survey and Critical Essays (selection)

 

Chapters in edited volumes

  • « Quand Hartung ne connaissait pas la crise », in Thomas Kirchner, Antje Kramer-Mallordy et Martin Schieder, eds., Hans Hartung et l’abstraction. « Réalité autre, mais réalité quand même » (Dijon: les presses du réel, 2020), 214-231. Author's version on HAL.
  • « Pinot Gallizio’s Cavern: Re-Excavating Postwar Paris », in Catherine Dossin, ed., France and the Visual Arts since 1945: Remapping European Postwar and Contemporary Art (New York: Bloomsbury, 2018), 75-89. Author's version on HAL.
  • « Robert Filliou face à l’économie du multiple dans les années 1960. Standardisation, démocratisation et marchandisation », in Andreas Beyer, Étienne Jollet and Markus Rath (Eds.), Wiederholung. Répétition. Wiederkehr, Variation und Übersetzung in der Kunst (Paris and Berlin: Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte and Deutscher Kunstverlag GmbH, 2017), 183-198
  • « Öyvind Fahlström’s Impure Pop in a World of Impure Cold War Politics », in Annika Öhrner (Ed.), Art in Transfer in the Era of Pop. Curatorial Practices and Transnational Strategies (Stockholm: Södertörn University, 2016), 193-214.
  • « Global Conceptualism ? Cartographies of Conceptual Art in Pursuit of Decentring », in Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, et al. (Eds.), Circulations. Writing the Global History of a Globalized Art (Burlington: Ashgate, 2015), 167-182. Author's version on HAL.

 

Publications for museums, exhibitions and artists (selection)

Publications HAL