Cover of The Art Firm by Pierre Guillet de Monthoux
The Art Firm
Aesthetic Management and Metaphysical Marketing
Pierre Guillet de Monthoux


408 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804748131


Excerpts and More

The Art Firm explores the seemingly unorthodox alliance of the arts, management, and marketing. Art firms—as avant-garde enterprises and arts corporations—have existed for at least two hundred years, using texts, images, and other types of art to create corporate wealth. This book investigates how to apply the methods artists use in creating value to the methods more traditional managers use in running their businesses.

Guillet de Monthoux offers a crash course in aesthetics from Kant to Gadamer, showing how aesthetic management and metaphysical marketing can create value. Using case studies of successful art managers from Richard Wagner to Robert Wilson, the author illustrates the creative role—so central to value-making in contemporary economies—performed by aesthetic play in art firms. Along the way, Guillet de Monthoux points out how responsible aesthetic management and marketing can eradicate the problems of banality and totality, the two capital sins of an art-based economy.

About the author

Pierre Guillet de Monthoux is Professor and Chair of General Management, School of Business, Stockholm University, Sweden. He has also written The Moral Philosophy of Management and edited Good Novels Better Management (with Barbara Czarniawska).

"Expansive in its scope, The Art Firm is one of the most interesting management books I've read in some time. It is eloquently written and delivers important conclusions that will be of enduring importance. It should become the authoritative work on the relationship of art and aesthetics and the practice of business."

—Robert D. Austin, Harvard Business School, Author of Artful Making: What Managers Need to Know About How Artists Work

"Although there are many books that purport to address the issues of business and the arts, I have yet to find such an engaging, challenging, and intellectually playful investigation of these issues as The Art Firm. Guillet de Monthoux romps through European thought and artistic enterprises with remarkable agility. This work, peppered with illustrative examples from history to the present day, asks important questions of our management oriented culture."

—Ruth Bereson, Program in Arts Administration, Teachers College, Columbia University

"By evoking—really depicting and conjuring—successful models from both art and business, Guillet de Monthoux convincingly demonstrates that managers must look beyond the traditional places for their ideas of how to run businesses. This book is particularly timely, offering a valuable and too long neglected perspective on 'creative' and 'inspired' ways to run businesses."

—Claire Hill, Chicago-Kent College of Law

"This is a wonderfully readable and delightful text, reminiscent of the energy of Zizek's cultural diagnoses."


"Guillet de Monthoux's close contact with the cultural world and its players... leads to an important contribution to our understanding of organization and the broader economy as captured in this book."

Organization Studies

"With The Art Firm: Aesthetic Management and Metaphysical Marketing Pierre Guillet de Monthoux provides the growing contemporary research field of organisational aesthetics with an invaluable sourcebook. At once a history of ideas and a history of organisational forms, it demonstrates the profound relevance of aesthetic philosophy for management and organisation studies, while at the same time it reveals how the post-Kantian philosophical tradition has taken shape in and through a series of encounters with particular organisations."

Philosophy of Management