Commissioned Artwork Rated as Less Creative
Topic: How does the fact that an artwork was commissioned influence its quality (from creative and technical quality aspects)
Researchers: Teresa M. Amabile (Professor of Business Administration, Harvard University, US), Elise Phillips, and Mary Ann Collins
Formal Reference: Teresa M. Amabile, Elise Phillips, and Mary Ann Collins. “Person and Environment in Talent Development: The Case of Creativity.” In Talent Development: Proceedings of the 1993 Henry B. and Jocelyn Wallace National Research Symposium on Talent Development, edited by Nicholas Colangelo, Susan G. Assouline and DeAnn L. Ambroson. Unionville, N.Y.: Trillium Press, 1994.
Main Conclusion: Commissioned artwork produce inferior artistic value, yet similar technical quality, relative to non-commissioned artwork
Description of Experiment
a. Researcher asked 23 professional US artists to randomly select 10 of their commissioned works and 10 of their non-commissioned works.
b. These artworks were presented before a panel of accomplished artists and curators, who knew nothing about the study, to be rated according to creativity and technical quality.
c. The commissioned works were rated as significantly less creative than the non-commissioned works, yet they were not rated differently for technical quality
Artists’ creativity is damaged by the fact that their work was commissioned.
Artists reported feeling constrained when doing commissioned work.
Technical quality – i.e. the exercise of effort and diligence – wasn’t damaged due to the fact that the work was commissioned. I.e. the motivation to excel wasn’t damaged.