Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Restricted Access (SIA Only)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art Business

First Advisor

Kathy Battista


We are living in the golden age of television. As a medium, television has ascended to the level of prestige once reserved exclusively for film. Greater financial resources, collaboration with celebrated actors, and culturally-relevant programming mark the arrival of television as an art form prime for scholarly analysis. The symbolic importance of recognizable works of art has been explored at length in the context of film studies, but little research has focused on the placement of artists’ images in current television series. This thesis explores the presentations of contemporary art collections in two programs: Fox’s Empire and Showtime’s Billions. Through a pair of case studies, this analysis discerns that art featured on television visually reinforces a program’s narrative progression, reflects trends in the contemporary art market, and highlights inherent contradictions in the legal matter of artists’ rights.