Olav Velthuis is Professor at the Department of Sociology of the University of Amsterdam, specializing in economic sociology, sociology of the arts and cultural sociology. At the department, he is director of the program group Cultural Sociology. His research interests include the globalization of art markets, the interrelations between market and gift exchange, the valuation and pricing of contemporary art, and the moral and socio-technological dimensions of markets for adult content. In a cross-comparative fashion, he has studied the emergence and development of art markets in the BRIC-countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). The project was financed by a VIDI-grant from the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO). Before moving to the Universiity of Amsterdam, Velthuis worked for several years as a Staff Reporter Globalization for the Dutch daily de Volkskrant. Also, he worked as an Assistant Professor at the University of Konstanz and as a Post-Doc researcher at Columbia University.
Velthuis is the author of Talking Prices. Symbolic Meanings of Prices on the Market for Contemporary Art (Princeton University Press, 2005), which received the Viviana Zelizer Distinguished Book Award of the American Sociological Association for the best book in economic sociology (2006). The American magazine Newsweek referred to it as “the best study of what art spending means”. He is also the author of Imaginary Economics (NAi Publishers, 2005), which was translated into Dutch and Italian. Together with Maria Lind of Tensta Konsthall (Stockholm), he edited the book Contemporary Art and Its Commercial Markets A Report on Current Conditions and Future Scenarios (Sternberg Press, 2012) and with Stefano Baia Curioni the book Cosmopolitan Canvases. The Globalization of Markets for Contemporary Art (Oxford University Press, 2015).
Apart from art markets, Velthuis has among others studied the market for literary fiction, cultural consumption and lifestyle, financial markets, and journalism. His academic work has appeared in leading journals in social science including Theory & Society, Socio-Economic Review, Economy & Society, Journal of Consumer Culture, Journalism, and the Journal of Cultural Economics. His journalistic writings have appeared in among others The New York Times, Artforum, the Art Newspaper and the Financial Times. His work has been cited in international media including Newsweek, Die Zeit, Corriere della Sera, The Independent, Il Sole 24 Ore, the FreakonomicsBlog of the New York Times, and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Velthuis has given keynote lectures and workshops at a variety of national and international cultural institutions including Tate Modern (London), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Toneelgroep Amsterdam, the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM), Tensta Konsthall (Stockholm), Art Basel, Rijksacademie (Amsterdam), Witte de With (Rotterdam), Christie’s (London) and De Appel (Amsterdam).
He is president of The International Art Market Studies Association (www.artmarketstudies.org) and used to be board member of the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds BKVB), which was the main government-sponsored foundation for visual artists in the Netherlands.