good read: seven days...

Book review of Seven Days in The Art World

Sarah Thornton, is the author behind one of the better docu-soap introductions to the art world that you can find. The prose is refreshingly non-academic for an otherwise academic person. It is immersive as if you have just landed on the art venue, standing right next to the author, and the person she is talking to.
The book was written not so long ago when the art market was booming, when art fetched astronomical prices, and when art reached a near religious status. Today the art world is still subject to the same dynamics, and the market is full of the same characters, which alone suggests that the book has something worthwhile to say for many years to come.

The book consists of chapters, which glide into each other as if they were 7 full days and nights. Here, you enter the Auction House, the art school ‘crit session’, the fair, The Turner Prize, the hearts and minds of Artforum editorial staff, the artist studio visit, and the Venice Biennale.
The book is insightful, and captures the rôles and professions in art with copious amounts of dry wit. In addition, it hints at the indirect and idiosyncratic vernacular in art, whilst at the same time, it exposes hype. That is a balancing act, because all the portrayed key players in the book, have neither been revered nor ridiculed as individuals. Instead, the author has listened and interviewed each person with respect, tact and situation awareness.

In conclusion, Seven Days in The Art World is an excellent read for anyone who wants to see the world of art in helicopter view. That unique overview could perhaps only be offered by Sarah Thornton, because she is journalist with a degree in art history and a PhD in sociology.

You can obtain a copy at Amazon, and you can find out more about the author on her own website.