Seven Days in the Art World

Seven Days in the Art World

by Sarah Thornton


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Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton

"An indelible portrait of a peculiar society." —VogueSarah Thornton's vivid ethnography—an international hit, now available in twenty translations—reveals the inner workings of the sophisticated subcultures that make up the contemporary art world. In a series of day-in-the-life narratives set in New York, Los Angeles, London, Basel, Venice, and Tokyo, Seven Days in the Art World explores the dynamics of creativity, taste, status, money, and the search for meaning in life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393337129
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 11/02/2009
Pages: 287
Sales rank: 278,108
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Sarah Thornton's Seven Days in the Art World was named one of the best art books of the year by the New York Times and is available in sixteen languages. Shewas the chief writer on contemporary art forthe Economist. She holds a BA in art history and a PhD in sociology.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

1 The Auction 1

2 The Crit 41

3 The Fair 75

4 The Prize 107

5 The Magazine 143

6 The Studio Visit 181

7 The Biennale 219

Author's Note 255

Afterword 261

Acknowledgments 267

Selected Bibliography 273

Illustration Credits 277

Index 281

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Seven Days in the Art World 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
7 Days in the Art World gives an inside look on the life of the artist. It goes through the main 7 things most gallery artists go through in their career. The part I enjoyed most was learning the rule of the artists’ reputation. The artists’ reputation is held in the buyers of the artists’ work. A major message that was apparent was how much effort and patience it takes to become a great and popular artist. I also liked how the author did lots of studying of this topic she went to the Venice Biennale, spends time interviewing different types of artists and also watches the most incredible artists at work. The only thing I really disliked was the length of the book; I would have loved to continue reading on the topic because I too am an inspiring artist who would love to go into this field. I would definitely recommend this book to future artists; it’s a great eye opener on what the art world looks like. People should read this book in order to get a sneak peak at what it takes to become a gallery artist. It gives great information on what each realm of the life is like. It will inspire even more success.
AlaskanReader More than 1 year ago
Seven Days in the Art World is an eye-opening book. It shows the reader the inside of a world and lifestyle that many of us know little about. We get to see the workings of auctions, biennales, art houses, art dealers, art collectors, and artists themselves. This world is very different than one would imagine. For instance, dealers are very picky about who they sell their art to. The collector has to be as 'in' as the artist. In some ways, as much as I loved the book, the information in it made me sick. The art world is a lot of hype and the people who inhabit it are not to my liking. However, this is reality and the author does a great job of doing an ethnographic portrait of this world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! It really provides an inside look into the art world that not many have the privilege of experiencing. I wish I could have read this in undergrad!
tamesthetic More than 1 year ago
This book is priceless. From the first page to the last, you are on this eye opening journey into the world of Art. Every art history and potential or seasoned artist should own a copy. For me, I have no knowledge of the art world save Art History 101 and this book puts everything I learned into greater perspective. Its very entertaining too and has great insider gossip into the underbelly of the art scene - without appearing to be gossipy. Very well researched. I feel like I lived in the art world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sarah Thornton's Seven Days in the Art World is a thoroughly enjoyable read for anyone who is interested in getting an insider's view in the art world. She takes a lot of information and presents it in such a way that it seems that you are reading a soft-core suspense novel instead of a sociological research project. For those of us who love art and do not have the good fortune to attend many of these events because of location, money, etc. this books is a ticket in.
Steeleman More than 1 year ago
I read this book just as the financial crisis came upon us and, in that respect, it serves as an historical account of the contemporary art market for the late nineties and early oughts.
It does give an accurate account of the way the art world works, in terms of the exchange of works and the relatively small community involved in the scene. I have had limited exposure to all of the milleus listed and find that this book does convey what it is like to actually be involved.
My only caveat is that I wish the it read less like a collection of short stories and more like a group of scenes that came together in a more unified snapshot of the art world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lance_Charnes More than 1 year ago
This is an anthropological study of a murky subculture given to bizarre rituals, riven by tribal conflict and prone to madness...the world of contemporary art. Sarah Thornton, our intrepid guide, comes at this woolly subject from different angles -- seven of them, to be precise, each set in a different city -- shining a light on the major clans and customs. The result is a surprisingly engaging account of how the frothiest end of the art market works (or doesn't), written in a way that a non-insider can understand. Thornton spends a day inside the New York branch of Christie's, one of the three major auction houses able to sell tens of millions of dollars worth of art in a single evening to the extraordinarily rich; a crit session at CalArts, where future artists learn how to disengage their thinking processes from the real world; opening day of the Venice Biennale, the art-themed amusement park for the very wealthy; and four other close encounters with the contemporary art scene. Her you-are-there approach is both vivid and clear. When we're not in the thick of things, she's telling us about conversations she's had with the market's movers and shakers that help explain what's going on. This is a reality show begging to be made: the camera follows Our Heroine as she scrambles through superstar pop-artist Takashi Murakami's studios, then cuts away to a talking-head interview with a guy who happens to be a top dealer or the publisher of the most influential art magazine in America, who explains it all for you. Owing to the incestuous nature of their world, the huge number of characters all know each other, attend the same parties, used to work in each others' galleries or newspapers, sometimes are (or were) married to each other, and speak the same obscure dialect of English. Thornton (a sometime reporter for The Economist) does a good job differentiating the major players enough so that we can remember who they are when they pop up here and there. This crowd of characters is another reason this book really wants to be made into a reality show: instead of hillbillies with big beards or New Jersey midgets with precancerous tans, Seven Days gives us a magazine publisher whose suits all come in primary colors, an art professor who teaches by not saying anything, megarich collectors, Turner Prize finalists who don't know whether they really want to win, and any number of other kinds of exotic fauna. The fifth star is missing because Thornton's prism has only seven sides. While it's gratifying to spend time in Murakami's bizarre world, he's hardly representative of the non-celebrity working artist. Marquee-named dealers flit about the edges of these vignettes, but we never see what they do on a day-to-day basis, nor do we learn what life is like for the other 95% of gallerists and dealers. My own particular area of interest -- art crime -- never gets mentioned; surely Thornton could've found a detective or insurance investigator to shadow for a day? Seven Days in the Art World is a cook's tour of the contemporary art scene's 1%, the part that generates headline nine-figure sales, receptions full of the glitterati, and incomprehensible statement art be coming soon to a museum near you. Don't expect to learn much about the workaday market and the not-famous people in it. Look at it as true-life science fiction -- a visit to a world full of alien creatures populating a parallel Earth on the opposite side of the Sun.
Bastett More than 1 year ago
I remember picking this book up in the library. I read it in 2 hours: it was that good. Whats great about the book is the humor. You really feel like you are there with Sarah as she takes you to Progue, all the way to New York. My favorite chapter was when she went to NY to speak with the editors of a famous art magazine (won't ruin it for you. Just read!). That was a great chapter. The book is a wonderful look into a world that is hidden from the average person. If you appreciate or enjoy art check this book out. You will be very happy... hopefully for more than 2 hours.
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