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Publisher's Summary

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 Thornton investigates the drama of a Christie's auction, the workings in Takashi Murakami's studios, the elite at the Basel Art Fair, the eccentricities of Artforum magazine, the competition behind an important art prize, life in a notorious art-school seminar, and the wonderland of the Venice Biennale. She reveals the new dynamics of creativity, taste, status, money, and the search for meaning in life. A judicious and juicy account of the institutions that have the power to shape art history, based on hundreds of interviews with high-profile players, Thornton's entertaining ethnography will change the way you look at contemporary culture.
©2008 Sarah Thornton (P)2014 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Thornton offers an elegant, evocative, sardonic view into some of the art world's most prestigious institutions." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By heather on 09-07-15

Good insight

The book provides great insight, but I personally lost interest in the subject about half way in.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By David Cuzick on 05-07-15

An artist who loved the book

Very revealing relating to the realities of the art world. I have found that many good artist are naive about how work is sold and moves through the commercial chain. This book should be required reading for students in art school and of interest to collectors and anyone interested in how contemporary art is promoted, valued and sold. As a craftsman and artist I found the book inspiring.

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6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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