In the 1960s Arthur Danto claimed that the art world has an ontological purpose that is essential to legitimising and judging art created in the present.
In spite of later having been debunked by sociology, the notion of the "art world" is today alive and well: often disguised as a common sensical concept, it insists in journalistic as well as critical and academic writing. This is perhaps due to the fact that life in the present is networked, and in this way typically focused on how personal and professional relationships are established, interpreted and evaluated.
However the notion of the "art world" isolates the institutional and commercial spheres of art from art's social context and critical-intellectual ambition. The term tends to celebrate the pseudo-perceptions of valorising gazes, as well as a subtext of power moves amongst fetishised agents and institutions. As ever, the "art world" has little to do with art. It is a totalising notion that must be de-naturalized.