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Seven Days in the Art World

by Sarah Thornton

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This is very helpful for understanding the Art game. Doesn't talk about how the money is moved around however. ( )
  BakuDreamer | Sep 7, 2013 |
This is a look at the world of contemporary art by ethnographic researcher Sarah Thornton. Each "day" comprises a long article about an aspect of the art world. I found it to be fascinating and surprising. You'll laugh, but I hadn't thought of the world of contemporary art as being quite so pretentious or as preoccupied with money.

The book opens with an auction at Christie's, in which one's importance is indicated by where one is allowed to sit. I'd always thought it would be fun to attend an auction. I don't think that anymore. This was a good opening for the book, illustrating how much art is just another plaything of the very wealthy. In subsequent chapters, Thornton looks at a class at CalArts in which students present their work for peer critiques; Art Basel, a Swiss art fair in which galleries have booths and do much of their year's sales; the announcement of the Turner Prize, a British art award which is as much a sign of prestige for artists as the Booker prize is for writers; ArtForum magazine; Japanese artist Takashi Murakami's various studios, in which his work is carried out by other artists and where marketing opportunities are pursued and, finally, the Venice Biennale, an international event for contemporary art.

Even as art itself is a constantly changing thing, how art is created, marketed, sold and resold hasn't changed. The most successful artists are as concerned for securing patronage and in marketing their image as they were in Renaissance Italy. And people have always bought art and, with their choices, indicated both their taste and wealth. If you have an interest in the subject, this is an excellent look at a world hidden from people who visit an art museum or gallery. ( )
2 vote RidgewayGirl | Mar 21, 2013 |
-all about art
-all about anthropology
-how the artist, important to culture and to the greater world, is only a small part of the art world ( )
  mykl-s | Dec 15, 2012 |
Seven Days in the Art World. Sarah Thornton. 2008. I did not finish this book and stopped reading it when I missed the discussion at the museum, but when I picked it up to write this annotation I decided I’d try to finish it. The writer spent a week visiting major art venues: an auction, a school, a fair, a magazine, a studio and finally a huge art show. She discusses the modern art scene and helped me understand why I have trouble liking so much modern art. Two quotes from the book will explain what I mean:

“Art used to embody something meaningful enough to be relevant beyond the time in which it was made, but collectors today are attracted to art that ‘holds up a mirror to our times’ and are two impatient to hang on to a work long enough to see if it contains any “timeless’ rewards”

“I explored another word: Creativity. The students wrinkled their noses in disgust. ‘Creative is definitely a dirty word.’ You would not want to say it in Post-Studio. People would gag! It’s almost as embarrassing as beautiful or sublime or masterpiece.” For these students, creativity was a ‘lovey-dovey cliché used by people who are not professionally involved with art.” ( )
  judithrs | Mar 17, 2012 |
Well written, and informative, but surprisingly boring. ( )
  fiadhiglas | Oct 31, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 039333712X, Paperback)

Named one of the best art books of 2008 by The New York Times and The Sunday Times [London]: “An indelible portrait of a peculiar society.”—Vogue

The art market has been booming. Museum attendance is surging. More people than ever call themselves artists. Contemporary art has become a mass entertainment, a luxury good, a job description, and, for some, a kind of alternative religion.

In a series of beautifully paced narratives, Sarah Thornton investigates the drama of a Christie's auction, the workings in Takashi Murakami's studios, the elite at the Basel Art Fair, the eccentricities of Artforum magazine, the competition behind an important art prize, life in a notorious art-school seminar, and the wonderland of the Venice Biennale. She reveals the new dynamics of creativity, taste, status, money, and the search for meaning in life. A judicious and juicy account of the institutions that have the power to shape art history, based on hundreds of interviews with high-profile players, Thornton's entertaining ethnography will change the way you look at contemporary culture. 8 illustrations

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:01 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The art market has been booming. Museum attendance is surging. More people than ever call themselves artists. Contemporary art has become a mass entertainment, a luxury good, a job description, and, for some, a kind of alternative religion. In a series of narratives, Sarah Thornton investigates the drama of a Christie's auction, the workings in Takashi Murakami's studios, the elite at the Basel Art Fair, the eccentricities of Artforum magazine, the competition behind an important art prize, life in a notorious art-school seminar, and the wonderland of the Venice Biennale. She reveals the new dynamics of creativity, taste, status, money, and the search for meaning in life. A judicious and juicy account of the institutions that have the power to shape art history, based on hundreds of interviews with high-profile players, Thornton's entertaining ethnography will change the way you look at contemporary culture.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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W.W. Norton

Two editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 039306722X, 039333712X

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