Book Review: Seven Days in the Art World
By Sarah Thorton
When it comes to reading I’m more of a nonfiction reader. I read books mostly for information which oddly enough has become a form of entertainment in itself. I enjoy a book that uses a narrative that weaves through some interesting, but most importantly useful examples on how to make my life better or easier. This is probably why I read many books on marketing. They seem to have interesting real-world examples to back up their claims along with psychological analysis.
I was hoping that Seven Days in the Art World would contain some actionable items for keeping my painting career moving in the right direction. How wrong I was. While I didn’t expect a manuscript for improving the business side of my artwork, this book was definitely not geared towards my intentions. I don’t fault the book for it however, and it’s probably my fault for not looking into the book more closely before beginning to read it.
This book contained almost zero useful information for the emerging, mid-level, or any artist working in the traditional/realist conventions. Seven Days in the Art World was a dissection of the how abstract, modern, and even conceptual art is dealt with at the highest price levels as viewed through 7 different perspectives:
- The Auction
- The Crit
- The Fair
- The Prize
- The Magazine
- The Studio
- The Biennale
Looking to break into that hot New York gallery? This book won’t help one bit. It will confirm, however all of those crazy stereotypes you have of the upper echelon of the most exclusive art scenes. You know… those notions that a group of people could be eagerly gathered around a steaming pile of crap in the center of a gallery floor only because an important icon in the art world thinks there is merit to the defecating artist’s vision.
The following sums up Seven Days in the Art World and consequently was one of my favorite passages from the book as well:
In a world that has jettisoned craftsmanship as the dominant criterion by which to judge art a higher premium is put on the character of the artist. If artists are seen to be creating art simply to cater to the market it compromises their integrity and the market loses confidence in their work.
Seven Days in the Art World is extremely well written and intelligently organized. If you’ve even been interested in how the top %1 of the art world interacts you’ll get a kick out of this book. Just be prepared to hear loads of “art speak” that inevitably seem to include the word “discourse”. The world “discourse” was used so many times in an attempt to make sense of art it made me chuckle.