Seven Days in the Art World
"Hollywood, it has been said, is like high school with money: cliquish, catty and status-obsessed, awash in insecurity and plagued by conflicting desires to stand out and to fit in. The same might be said of the contemporary art world, particularly during the glitzy boom years chronicled by Sarah Thornton in her entertaining new book, “Seven Days in the Art World.”Read the review of Sarah Thornton's "Seven Days in the Art World" by Mia Fineman in the New York Times here and buy the book here.
A freelance journalist with a background in sociology, Thornton spent five years air-kissing her way through art fairs, auction houses and artists’ studios as a “participant observer” intent on decoding the manners and mores of this globe-trotting Prada-clad tribe. What she learned, among other things, is that wealthy collectors buy expensive works of art for a variety of reasons — vanity, social status, an appetite for novelty and, most important of all, an acute excess of money. As one of her auction-house informers bluntly puts it, “After you have a fourth home and a G5 jet, what else is there?”
The book is cleverly divided into seven day-in-the-life chapters, each focusing on a different facet of the contemporary art world: an auction (at Christie’s New York), an art school “crit” (at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia), an art fair (Art Basel), an artist’s studio (that of the Japanese star Takashi Murakami), a prize (Britain’s prestigious Turner Prize), a magazine (Artforum) and a biennale (Venice)."