This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines the social, political, structural, historical forces that bear upon the arts, situate and locate them within hierarchies of value and practice. It describes the double meaning of value that art bears as quantitative and qualitative, exchange and use, economic and cultural, public and private. The book provides keys to an understanding of the world as such and highlights the terms under which certain objects and practices can be considered art and art in turn would be articulated with larger social and historical scales, hierarchies, and temporalities. The proximate politics of art, its conditions of production, formations of labor, locations of subjectivity are arrayed across an intricate institutional archipelago. Art makes a way in the world and artists through their work together and apart bear an agency that generates a critique of what is and a sense of what might be.