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.
Turning a sociologically trained eye to the goings on of the slick and sexy contemporary art-star world, Sarah Thornton offers sharp analyses of how this scene works. Her seven "days" (Thornton actually spent closer to five years working on this book) are seven representative snapshots of this status- and money-driven subculture. She spends a chapter on each: the Venice biennial, Takashi Murakami's studio, an auction at Christie's, a crit at UC Valencia, the Turner Prize, the Art Basel fair, and critics. Thornton, who writes for The New Yorker and Artforum, gets candid interviews with the editors of these publications, and she has insider informants at every turn. In short, Thornton has enviable access to this notorious clique.
- Antiques + Collectibles, Biography + Autobiography, Art
- History / Contemporary (1945-), Criticism, Artists + Architects + Photographers, General
- W W Norton & Co Inc
- November 2, 2009
- November 2, 2009
- Sarah Thornton