Last week I read the book Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton. I thought it would be interesting to see someone’s view into this world. While it had some interesting inside looks, I’d say that it was less about the art or artists and more about the money. It’s like writing a book about life in America and only chronicling the movements of Hollywood celebrities.
The elitist ideas begin in the introduction where Ms Thornton promotes the stereotype that if you’re not in NYC, London, LA, or Berlin you’re not a serious artist. She goes even further by calling Glasgow, Vancouver, and Milan “the hinterlands” of the art world and even refers to the Armory show in New York as a regional show.
The same people crop up throughout the book. Dealers, buyers, writers, and the artist Murakami (the only artist talked about in any depth) keep appearing in each of the chapters. It really gives the sense of an “old boys’ club” especially since the players are so often male. Even “The Crit” chapter reinforces stereotypes about art schools.
By the end of the book I was happy to be finished with this glance into the upper echelons of the art world. I liked the chapter about Murakami, particularly because I was reading a lot online about Damien Hirst and his assistants. Murakami also uses (many) assistants in creating his work, but he encourages them to do their own work, even promoting some of them himself.
Generally though, I don’t think this will teach anyone something new about perceptions of art. It may show a couple of insights into the art market, but as to the art world, it barely scratches the surface.
Did you read this book? Do you agree or disagree with my perception of it? Leave a comment and give us your opinion.