On the Margins of Art Worlds

On the Margins of Art Worlds

by Larry P. Gross
     
 

The concept of the art world confronts and undermines the romantic ideology of art and artists that is still dominant in Western societies. By treating the production of art as work and artists as workers and examining the conditions under which these activities take place, this sociological perspective illuminates much that remains obscured by romantic individualism.… See more details below

Overview

The concept of the art world confronts and undermines the romantic ideology of art and artists that is still dominant in Western societies. By treating the production of art as work and artists as workers and examining the conditions under which these activities take place, this sociological perspective illuminates much that remains obscured by romantic individualism. The art worlds analysis represented in this collection of original studies questions the social arrangements that determine the recruitment and training of artists, the institutional mechanisms that govern distribution and influence success, the processes of innovation within art worlds, and the emergence of new formations around new media or new players. These studies share a focus on borderline cases and questions - on actions, transactions, and transitions at the margins of art worlds. Controversies and critical incidents expose many of the otherwise invisible rules and procedures that determine art world practices. Examining transitions across the border into art worlds has much to tell us about aesthetic values and biases obscured by the romantic ideology of artistic genius. Looking at art worlds organized around marginal media - amateur photography, video, graffiti - reveals patterns of interaction and evaluation strikingly reminiscent of those found in the fine art mainstream.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
These 13 essays by 12 authors follow up on Howard Becker's pioneering sociological study Art Worlds (LJ 5/15/82). Quantitative and historical research examining a variety of media, movements, and artists considered "marginal" was conducted by graduate students working with editor Gross (Annenberg Sch. for Communication, Univ. of Pennsylvania). Readers will linger over the controversial and thought-provoking pieces the students produced, such as "Public Art and Cultural Authority," "From East to West": Polish Artists in the New York Art World," and "Trading Places in the Art World: The Reputations of Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans." Unfortunately, however fascinating, the arguments are sometimes tarnished by misconceptions, e.g., that "fine art" excludes functional objects, crafts, and folk art and that it remains the domain of the upper classes and the romantic genius artist. Still, as an addition to the small field of sociology of the art world, this is recommended for larger academic collections.-Mary Hamel-Schwulst, Towson State Univ., Md.
Booknews
Research studies by graduate students at the Annenberg School for Communication of the University of Pennsylvania question the social arrangements that determine the recruitment and training of artists, the institutional mechanisms governing distribution, and the process of innovation within art worlds. They focus on borderline cases and controversies that expose the invisible rules determining art world practices, and discuss topics such as pricing new art, amateur photography and middlebrow culture, and graffiti. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813316796
Publisher:
Westview Press
Publication date:
03/28/1995
Series:
Institutional Structures of Feeling Series
Pages:
285
Lexile:
1440L (what's this?)

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