33 Artists in 3 Acts

33 Artists in 3 Acts

by Sarah Thornton
33 Artists in 3 Acts

33 Artists in 3 Acts

by Sarah Thornton


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This compelling narrative goes behind the scenes with the world’s most important living artists to humanize and demystify contemporary art.

The best-selling author of Seven Days in the Art World now tells the story of the artists themselves—how they move through the world, command credibility, and create iconic works.

33 Artists in 3 Acts offers unprecedented access to a dazzling range of artists, from international superstars to unheralded art teachers. Sarah Thornton's beautifully paced, fly-on-the-wall narratives include visits with Ai Weiwei before and after his imprisonment and Jeff Koons as he woos new customers in London, Frankfurt, and Abu Dhabi. Thornton meets Yayoi Kusama in her studio around the corner from the Tokyo asylum that she calls home. She snoops in Cindy Sherman’s closet, hears about Andrea Fraser’s psychotherapist, and spends quality time with Laurie Simmons, Carroll Dunham, and their daughters Lena and Grace.

Through these intimate scenes, 33 Artists in 3 Acts explores what it means to be a real artist in the real world. Divided into three cinematic "acts"—politics, kinship, and craft—it investigates artists' psyches, personas, politics, and social networks. Witnessing their crises and triumphs, Thornton turns a wry, analytical eye on their different answers to the question "What is an artist?"

33 Artists in 3 Acts reveals the habits and attributes of successful artists, offering insight into the way these driven and inventive people play their game. In a time when more and more artists oversee the production of their work, rather than make it themselves, Thornton shows how an artist’s radical vision and personal confidence can create audiences for their work, and examines the elevated role that artists occupy as essential figures in our culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393351675
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 09/08/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 1,095,344
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Sarah Thornton is a sociologist and author of three critically acclaimed books, including the international bestseller Seven Days in the Art World. She was a scholar-in-residence at University of California, Berkeley, for three years while writing Tits Up. She lives in San Francisco, California.

Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

Act I Politics

Scenes 1 to 17, featuring (in order of appearance) Jeff Koons Ai Weiwei Gabriel Orozco Eugenio Dittborn Lu Qing Zeng Fanzhi Wangechi Mutu Kutlug Ataman Tammy Rae Carland Martha Rosier 1

Act II Kinship

Scenes 1 to 19, featuring Elmgreen & Dragset Maurizio Cattelan Laurie Simmons Carroll Dunham Francis Alys Cindy Sherman Jennifer Dalton William Powhida Francesco Bonami Grace Dunham Lena Dunham Rashid Johnson Massimiliano Gioni 115

Act III Craft

Scenes 1 to 16, featuring Damien Hirst Andrea Fraser Jack Bankowsky Christian Marclay Marina Abramovic Grayson Perry Yayoi Kusama Cady Noland Gabriel Orozco Beatriz Milhazes Isaac Julien 255

Acknowledgments 379

Selected Bibliography 383

Credits 391

Index 399

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