Fotograaf: Bram Belloni

dhr. dr. O.J.M. (Olav) Velthuis

  • Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen
    Programmagroep: Cultural Sociology
  • Bezoekadres
    REC BC
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166  Amsterdam
    Kamernummer: B6.05
  • Postadres:
    Postbus  15508
    1001 NA  Amsterdam
    T: 0205253579


Olav Velthuis is Associate 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 co-director of the program group Cultural Sociology; he used to be director of the MA programs in Sociology. In a cross-comparative fashion, he has recently 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, he 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 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 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 member of the editorial board of Sociologie. He was 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.


  • Velthuis, O. J. M. (2016). The Production of a Newspaper Interview. Following the Story at the Business Desk of a Dutch Daily. Journalism, 17(7), 899. [details]
  • Velthuis, O. J. M., & Franssen, T. P. (2016). Making Materiality Matter. A sociological analysis of price formation on the Dutch fiction book market, 1980-2009. Socio-Economic Review, 14(2), 363. [details]


  • Velthuis, O. J. M. (2016). It’s the arts, stupid: Book review of Michael Hutter, The Rise of the Joyful Economy: Artistic invention and economic growth from Brunelleschi to Murakami. European Journal of Sociology, 57(3), 518. [details]


  • Velthuis, O. J. M. (Author). (2016). The Brazilian Art World is Here to Stay, Economic Crisis or Not[details]
  • Velthuis, O. J. M. (2016). De buitenwacht: De maatschappelijke inbedding van de markt. Me Judice[details]


  • Velthuis, O. J. M. (2016). Cross-border cooperation between artists and dealers in the contemporary art market. A gravity model of global flows.. Paper presented at Workshop Business and management-related questions in Creative Industries, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, . [details]
  • Velthuis, O. J. M. (2016). Grenzen trekken in een mondiale kunstwereld. Waarom geografisch framen prevalent is in tentoonstellingen van hedendaagse kunst uit Brazilië, Rusland, India en China.. Paper presented at Landelijke werkgroep cultuurbeleid, Boekmanstichting, . [details]


  • Velthuis, Olav (organiser) (2016): International conference on Art markets from a global perspective (organising a conference, workshop, ...).


  • Velthuis, O.J.M. (invited speaker) (7-2016): Drawing Boundaries in a Globalizing Art World Why Place-Based Framing Prevails in Exhibitions of Contemporary Art From Brazil, Russia, India and China., UEBS Creative Industries Conference, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
  • Velthuis, Olav (invited speaker) (2016): Kunst en geld, Witte de With.
  • Velthuis, Olav (keynote speaker) (2016): The Role of the Venice Biennial in the Emergence of Art Markets, Institute d’Etudes Supérieures des Arts (IESA), UK.
  • Velthuis, Olav (keynote speaker) (2016): Whitewashing Reputations in the Art Market: Do We Want to Know Where Money Spent on Contemporary Art is Coming From?, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.
  • Velthuis, Olav (keynote speaker) (2016): Whitewashing Reputations in the Art Market, Maastricht University.
  • Velthuis, Olav (speaker) (2016): Kunst en geld, De Appel.
  • Velthuis, Olav (speaker) (2016): The Brazilian Contemporary Art World in a Global Context, Kunsthal Kade Amersfoort.
  • Velthuis, Olav (speaker) (2016): The Market Carousel. Findings from the BRIC art markets project, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR).
  • Velthuis, Olav (speaker) (2016): The Market Carousel. How Markets for Modern and Contemporary Art Emerge in Brazil, Russia, India and China, Technische Universität, Berlin.


  • Velthuis, Olav (editor) (2016): Sociologie (Journal).
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