Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton

Seven Days in the Art World

Named one of the best art books of 2008 by The New York Times and The Sunday Times [London]: “An indelible portrait of a peculiar society.”—Vogue The art market has been booming. Museum attendance is surging. More people than ever call themselves artists. Contemporary art has become a mass entertainment, a luxury good, a job description, and, for some, a kind of alternative religion. In a series of beautifully paced narratives, Sarah Thorn...

Details Seven Days in the Art World

TitleSeven Days in the Art World
Release DateNov 2nd, 2009
PublisherW. W. Norton & Company
GenreArt, Nonfiction, Art History

Reviews Seven Days in the Art World

  • Troy
    I hate this book. Or more accurately, I hate what this book focuses on.Now I need to state that my hatred is pretty moronic. The book is titled Seven Days in the Art World, which very clearly labels it as a tourist's guidebook, so it might as well be labelled Lonely Planet: Art World, or Let's Go! Art World, or How to Travel the Art World with No Money and Without Leaving Your Couch. It's Seven Days, which is the length of time most tourists give...
  • Mary
    For someone who "writes about the art world and art market for many publications," Thornton asks some pretty lame questions. She seems, overall, clueless about art. Her deep, probing interview questions are "What do artists learn at art school? What is an artist? How do you become one? What makes a good one?"Seriously.Granted, the less the reader knows about art, I imagine, the more interesting the book would be.She loves describing what people a...
  • Carol
    Overview - It's a book about 7 different environments of the art world: * an auction (at Christie's in NYC) - below* a MFA crit session (at CalArt) -below* a visit to the Basel art fair (Switzerland) * the Turner prize in London * a visit to Artforum (magazine)* a visit to the studio of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami* a trip to the Venice Biennale Overall it was an easy read, but as an artist it bothered me. I have been to an art auction at Sot...
  • Lance Charnes
    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 w...
  • Arwen Downs
    I am sure that most readers of this book also chose it because we will never be able to attend a Christie's Post-war art auction, the Venice Bienniale, or the Basel Art Fair except vicariously through Sarah Thornton. Lucky for us, she does so with grace and wit and every other attribute I would wish to exhibit when in attendance at one of these prestigious events. Not to mention her uncanny knack for never forgetting an important face or name, wh...
  • Lobstergirl
    Thornton's narrative seemed to lose a little of its zest as it wended to a close. Early chapters on a Christie's auction of contemporary art, and a visit to the Art Basel fair were most interesting. It was instructive to learn how buying from a gallery is different from buying at auction, for example. But chapters on Takashi Murakami, the magazine Artforum, and the Venice Biennale were relatively lustreless, and Thornton felt too much in the narr...
  • Heather
    I got to read an advanced copy of this book and write a blurb about it for the magazine. Sooo, not only did reading this book make me feel extremely cool, it was also a really enjoyable read. Thornton is a "cat on the prowl" in the most important (and impenetrable) centers of the contemporary art world. Her account is gossipy and educational. What could be more fun?
  • Bill
    Very good book about how the art world operates, from auctions to dealers to collectors.
  • Jim
    In spite of her apparent hopes that this book might be a ethnology of the art world, it comes across a group of magazine articles that describe seven events -- an auction, an art fair, a biennial, etc. -- and how they contribute to the economics of the art world, how things are sold, and how reputations are established.Being relatively ignorant about any of this, I was surprised to discover that galleries at the upper echelons don't just sell to ...
  • Sergio
    If you want to understand the art world and how money commands it, that's a good start!
  • Justin Evans
    A fun, deceptively sophisticated jog through one very small aspect of "the art world." And that aspect is, overwhelmingly, the economic. This is a book about how rich people have nothing to do with their enormous amounts of money, so they spend it on objects that may or may not be of any aesthetic value. But they are great status markers. I mean, would you even go to someone's party if they didn't have a Jeff Koons? No way, right? The first few c...
  • Peter Mcloughlin
    An exploration by an Anthropologist's method. Gives a glimpse of a world that might as well be as far away from me as another galaxy. I have access to museums in NYC and New Haven but the art world may as well be at the antipodes for me. I enjoy the works but this world which is rarefied and exclusive I only get rumors and hand me down knowledge. I don't think it is sour grapes although I enjoy art it seems like that world might be a little too f...
  • cicie
    a cursory glimpse into the different facets of the art world today. it was cool to recognize many of the names and i found the chapter on artforum to be the most interesting. the subject of my master's thesis got the last word which was cool however, the author seemed more interested in showing off her connections than making thoughtful observations that could have shed some light on the field. she merely affirmed stereotypes of prototypical "art...
  • Karyn
    The marketing and legitimizing of current art for the wealthy elites is repulsive to me on almost every level. Recommended for those with a strong stomach and ability to tolerate this focus on the privileged few, who may or may not have any regard or insight into artistic legacy.
  • Lydia Presley
    This book almost went in my unable to finish shelf. First, a bit of history about this book.The book club I attended chose this book for July's read. It was a complete accident that this book got chosen as we are, technically, a Fiction Book Club. But the cover looked interesting and it was out of most of our normal "comfort" zone, so chosen it was.I think my perspective on this book was changed from what it might have been due to the book I had ...
  • Richard
    Not necessarily for everyone, but if you are interested in art and how money moves and hype works in the art world it is a delicious and well researched close-up look into all aspects of the art market. Thornton's book takes a look at the art college, the gallery, the auctioneer, the art show and of course the modern artist's studio to look at the modern art game from many angles.What impresses is the great level of the interviews with genuine an...
  • Vtlozano
    An entertaining tour of the contemporary art world: from auction to artist to museum to art magazine to art fair. Occasionally lapses into a bit of anthropological analysis, but stays mostly in a strong, detailed, and enjoyable descriptions of the funny animals in the art zoo. Strong reportage.
  • QueenAmidala28
    Technically a 4.5. New topic for me but loved every bit of it. "The Studio Visit" with Murakami was my favorite interview - yea I am partial to anything and anyone Japanese but Thornton did a great job at highlighting Murakamis work and not just this crazed always on the move with huge productions- type artists. She focused on the studio as it pertains to the art work as she did with the Art school, the auction house and Biennale. More to come .....
  • Sofia
    Posted on my book blog.In the world that surrounds us, there are many smaller "worlds" that regular people don't usually have access to. Some, like the medical or forensic experts world, are explored through popular TV shows and mass media culture, so that the general population, not exactly being a part of it, still feels like they have some access and knowledge of it (even if it is of a highly romanticized, flawed and fictionalized account). Su...
  • Kunal Sen
    Demystifies the strange and complex world of Contemporary Art by looking at it not as an insider, but as a keen observer who is pretending to be an insider. Though she takes the perspective of a social scientist and an anthropologist, her knowledge of art history and her respect and appreciation of contemporary art practices makes the book not only useful but also a pleasure to read.
  • Ron
    Thornton plunges into a full-immersion study of seven radically different environments of the art world, from a Christie's auction to an open crit session at CalArt, from the Japanese studios of Takashi Murakami to the Venice Biennale, and records what she sees and hears. Several sets of wonderful stories emerge, with occasional overlap as a few figures move from one scene to another, but for the most part these are highly disparate snapshots whi...
  • Andypants
    This book comes across as a mix of reportage and ethnography, with a feel of being a related series of magazine articles rather than a normally structured non-fiction book. I like that, since most introductions can be skipped if you plan on reading the whole book, and most conclusions are somewhat half-baked. There were two things that I really liked about the book. The first was her non-judgmental reporting. So many viewpoints were held by so ma...
  • Judy
    If you are confused by the contemporary art scene, this book is a great introduction. It does not explain the art itself, just the art WORLD. Each chapter represents a "day" (or several) at a different art-related location: an art auction at Christie's in New York, a criticism session in an art class at California Institute of the Arts, the Art Basel Fair in Switzerland, the awarding of the Turner Prize in London, a day at ArtForum (the most resp...
  • Prima Seadiva
    Audiobook. Reader okay.It appears that the "art world" like so much of our culture today is driven by corporate values of status, pretentiousness, money and commodification. It's not a world that appeals much to me.One of the most interesting things for me was how much of this change has occurred post WWII.Another thing that caught my attention was how in the Crit chapter life drawing was denigrated as useful only for designers. When I went to ar...
  • Gahermi
    This book is so amazing.
  • Julie Harding
    If you are obsessed with art, like I am, then this book is fun and informative! A little bit out of date perhaps, but very useful nonetheless.
  • K
    "Art is religion for atheists" was a new idea by me, so that was fun. I got a little lost with the names and just sort of let the venues of each chapter wash over me during walks. It gave me bits to think about, and honestly left me a little despairing of having any part in "true art" since I'm not a quadrillionaire. Why buy anything but posters, really? But... the crit chapter and bits elsewhere still gave me motivation to dabble and support "wh...
  • Aaron Hertzmann
    This book is an excellent browse through parts of the toniest parts of the art world. It has the feeling of having gotten the chance to mingle with and asking probing questions of many big players at significant event since. I found it fascinating.Most of the negative reviews I’ve read are from people who expected something different or something more, to be (as the title somewhat promises), about all of the art worlds (which sounds impossible ...
  • Alexandra Sundarsingh
    I really liked Thornton's writing. She was cheery, and whizzed through things when it felt like they'd have been speedy in real life, slowing when they'd likely have been slow. I also enjoyed the format. Seven different immersive full day experiences in seven different settings really helped show how broad "art" is for someone not terribly conversant in it, like myself. Not a breezy read per se, but really enjoyable.