Seven Days in the Art World is a book that explores the dynamics of creativity, taste, status, money, and the search for meaning in life. The book is divided into seven day-in-the-life chapters, each focusing on a different facet of the contemporary art world.
These include an auction at Christie’s New York, an art school “crit” at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, an art fair at Art Basel, an artist’s studio visit with Takashi Murakami, a prize at Britain’s prestigious Turner Prize, a magazine at Artforum, and a biennale in Venice.
The author, Sarah Thornton, provides a firsthand account of seven conflicting extremes of the art world. She is a smart and savvy guide with a keen understanding of the subtle power dynamics that animate each of these interconnected milieus. In a vivid opening chapter, she captures the adrenaline-fueled atmosphere of an evening auction at Christie’s, expertly parsing the status hierarchy of the salesroom seating plan.
The main themes of the book are the dynamics of creativity, taste, status, money, and the search for meaning in life. The book explores how contemporary art has become a kind of alternative religion for atheists. It also delves into the cliquish, catty, and status-obsessed nature of the contemporary art world, particularly during the glitzy boom years.
What I Liked
I love the format and topic. It’s a fascinating window into a world that I’ll never be a part of…but is fascinating nonetheless. There are oceans of money sloshing around in certain groups of people. And those people love to buy art. Lots of art. It’s a world that I can’t quite comprehend – but Sarah Thornton (Art correspondent for The Economist) is a brilliant guide to the world of contemporary art.
What I Did Not Like
Nothing – great read.