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Seven Days in the Art World Hardcover – 2 Dec 2008
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"Starred Review. ...Thornton, a contributor to Artforum.com and the New Yorker, presents an astute and often entertaining ethnography of this status-driven world. ... Thornton offers an elegant, evocative, sardonic view into some of the art world's most prestigious institutions."
'Excellent' -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
It started with promise but by the end I had highlighted so many name-drops it just seemed an uncritical documentary of the contemporary modern art circus and its players. Some comment on the morality and effects of this money-go-round would have been useful, but it's not here. Three stars for those readers into modern art (including all those mentioned in it!)but it's not really for we plebs.
The art world is rather schizophrenic, with intense contrasts and polarized beliefs and actions, and the book does a great job presenting this: for example, we have the very rich people who believe art is a commodity versus very poor art students who abhor words like creativity and never speak about money. There's a delicate balancing of these conflicting beliefs, and it's fascinating to see the mechanics behind that balancing.
However, I have to say that the tone of this book was one of exaggeration. In all these stories, the volume is turned up high, and the people described and their actions seem at times so extreme that I started to wonder if they were not caricatures of themselves. It makes it seem like there is no place in the art world for balanced human beings or actions. This is far from the truth (again, I speak from my own personal experience); this probably happens because it's much more interesting to show the extremes than to make space in the book for less sensational situations.
All in all, this is a fascinating book if you're interested in the mechanics of the art world, with an easy to read (but still interesting) language, based on a remarkable research work. Definitely worth it.
As an anthropologist by training, she's also adept at analysing the structures of societies and so the structure of the art world. This is what lifts the book from being an interesting collection of raw material into a clear explanation of how the contemporary art world works and how all its component parts fit together. At root it's all about money - vast sums of money - and you come away with a really vivid picture of where the money comes from, how it gets channeled round the art world to everyone's benefit, and how these vast sums affect the behaviour and decisions of the various characters in the drama. Highly recommended.