Art World Prestige

Overview

Why does the artworld often privilege one cultural form over another? Why does it grant more attention to reviews in, say, Artforum over ARTnews? And how can an artist once hailed as visionary be dismissed as derivative just a few years later? Exploring the ever-shifting estimations of value that make up the confluence of artists, critics, patrons, and gallery owners known as the artworld, Timothy van Laar and Leonard Diepeveen argue that prestige, a matter of socially constructed deference and conferral, plays ...

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Overview

Why does the artworld often privilege one cultural form over another? Why does it grant more attention to reviews in, say, Artforum over ARTnews? And how can an artist once hailed as visionary be dismissed as derivative just a few years later? Exploring the ever-shifting estimations of value that make up the confluence of artists, critics, patrons, and gallery owners known as the artworld, Timothy van Laar and Leonard Diepeveen argue that prestige, a matter of socially constructed deference and conferral, plays an indispensable role in the attention and reception given to modern and contemporary art.

After an initial chapter that develops a theory of prestige and the poignancy of its loss, the book looks at how arguments of prestige function in systems of representation, various media, and art's relationship to affect. It considers twentieth-century artists who moved not away from, but toward figuration; looks at what is at stake in the recurrent argument about the death of painting; examines the decline and an apparent return of sensual pleasure as a central attribute of visual art; and concludes with a look at the peculiar function of prestige in outsider art.

Illustrated with artwork by David Park, Jorge Pardo, Gerhard Richter, Anish Kapoor, Cecily Brown, Howard Finster, and others, Artworld Prestige provides an engaging guide to the changes, debates, and shifts that animate aesthetic judgments.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In clear, lively prose, the authors have crafted an original and compelling field guide to the higher realms of contemporary art criticism and the way it confers or denies the halos of prestige. The vantage point they take enables them to illuminate some startling values, dogmas, and blind spots that lie hidden within familiar art world discourse."—Carol Duncan, author of Civilizing Rituals: Inside Public Art Museums

"In a series of nicely described case studies, the authors show how understanding prestige involves analyzing the most obdurate terms of modernism and postmodernism: self-awareness, relevance, theory, difficulty, irony, pleasure, seriousness, professionalism, the instability of meaning, and the refusal of sense. This will be a very helpful book for anyone struggling to understand how the artworld produces its unpredictable judgments."—James Elkins, author of What Painting Is

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199913985
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/9/2013
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,416,204
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Timothy Van Laar is Professor of Art at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the coauthor of Active Sights and Art with a Difference.

Leonard Diepeveen is Professor of English at Dalhousie University. He is author of Changing Voices: The Modern Quoting Poem and The Difficulties of Modernism.

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Table of Contents

Preface
1. When Good Art Goes Bad: A Theory of Prestige
2. Eclectic Practices: Abstraction, Figuration, and Pluralism
3. Cultural Obituaries and the Status of Painting
4. Signs of Pleasure
Conclusion: Self-Consciousness and Authenticity
Notes
Works Cited
Index

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