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Seven Days in the Art World discussion points

Kit
user 57269882
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Hello Everyone. 
Hope that you are enjoying the summer.  I am looking forward to seeing you next week and to hearing your reactions to the book. Below I have listed the chapters with a few quotes from each to inspire our discussion.  We will have this printed out for everyone at the meeting.
Best,
Kit
 
Manhattan Art Book Club
Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton
September 7, 2013
 
Introduction
“The contemporary art world is a loose network of overlapping subcultures held together by a belief in art. … Art world insiders tend to play one of six distinct roles: artist, dealer, curator, critic, collection, or auction-house expert.” (p. xi)
The Auction
“Many would die to get their hands on Burge’s highly confidential “book.” It’s a sort of script for the sale.” (p.4)
“People who buy at auction say that there is nothing like it: ‘Your heart beats faster. The adrenaline surges through you.” (p. 10)
“…auction houses treat art like any other exchangeable commodity. In the auction world, people talk about ‘properties,’ ‘assets,’ and ‘lots’ as much as paintings, sculptures, and photographs. They do ‘evaluations’ rather than critiques.’ A ‘good Basquiat,’ for example, was made in 1982 or 1983 and contains a head, a crown, and the color read. Primary concern is not for the meaning of the artwork but it’s unique selling points, which tend to fetishize the earliest traces of the artist’s brand or signature style…”(p. 7)
“The truth is you’ve got standing room, the terrible seats, the good seats, the very good seats, and the aisle seats – they are the best. You’ve got the big collectors who buy – they’re at the front, slightly to the right. You have serious collectors who don’t buy – they’re towards the back……It’s a whole ceremony.” (p. 16)
The Crit
“Since the 1960s, MFA degrees have become the first legitimator in an artist’s career, … Look over the resumes of the artists under fifty in any major international museum exhibition and you will find that most of them boast an MFA from one of a couple of dozen highly selective schools.” (p. 46)
“At 10:25 A.M. everyone is seated. Michael Asher, legs crossed, clipboard in hand, emits and odd grunt and nods in Josh’s direction. The student starts: ‘Hello, people,” he says, and then takes a painfully long pause. ‘Well, I guess most of you know that I’ve had some shit goin’ on….” (p.47)
“Falling apart in a crit is not as shameful as one might expect. Intellectual breakdown is an essential component of CalArts pedagogy; or at least an expected part of the MFA student experience.” (p. 50)
The Fair
“Scott Wright sees the Basel stand as an ‘interactive advertisement, which costs the same as a year of full page ads in Artforum.”
“Eleven o’clock. And the collectors are off, slipping through the turnstile and past the Swiss security as quickly as their dignity will allow. From behind me an avid collector half jokes, ‘You’re not shoving enough!’ Those interested in blue-chip art vanish around the corners at ground level, while those in pursuit of emergent swarm up the escalators.” (p. 84)
“Art world insiders take a hard line on collecting for the “right” reasons. Acceptable motives include a love of art and a philanthropic desire to support artists. While it seems that everyone, including dealers, hates speculators, established collectors most loth conspicuous social climbers.” (p.83)
“… a ‘hard buy’. This takes the form of the collector describing his own ‘unique’ selling points,’ including notable works in his collection, the museum acquisition committees on which he sits, the way he is committed to longin works, and that he often underwrites exhibition and catalogue costs…” (p. 86)
“We are supposed to be second in the queue.  We have known this dealer for a long time... All I know about the collector ahead of us is that he has his own museum. We are going to have to set up a public foundation in order to compete for the best works.”(p. 92)
The Prize
“I remember being scared of losing and not liking the fact that I cared about it so much… I felt a terrible conflict between wanting to win and thinking it was stupid. I learned a lot about myself during the prize.” (p. 138)
“…the format of the prize – the early announcement of the shortlist and the public display of four artist’s work – spurs people to reflect about art.” (p. 119)
“The judges were initially divided, but early in the meeting, three of four came out in favor of the same two artists….’It was very hard work, very intense, but we have a decision!”(p. 135)
The Magazine
“ ‘Ideally, Artforum ends up telling the story of art in its day.’ The editorial pages convey the critical tale. The ad pages deliver the market narrative. ‘If you can’t have intellectual dialogue in an art magazine,’ he asserts, ‘then where in the world are you going to have it?’ “
The Studio Visit
“In the first airless building, three studio assistants listened to a Japanese pop-rock radio station, JWAVE, as they prepared to paint a smaller-than-life-size fiberglass sculpture entitle Second Mission Project Ko…” (p.192)
“I don’t really want to work in a company, but I have big desire for making many pieces. Operating the people and working on art are completely different. Every morning, I upset people…” (p. 196)
“I’m happy with Oval Buddha but thinking to next change. …Next work must be much bigger. Much complicated. That is my brain.” (p. 217)
The Biennale
“The Biennale is like a high school reunion where everyone turned out to be a success.  It’s not like the real world… At the Biennale...you’re on a marathon hunt for a new masterpiece. You want to see a new face and fall in love. It’s like speed dating…In Venice, you can fall in love with a lamppost.” (p. 223)
“Battling for recognition in the second ring of the circus are seventy six pavilions that flaunt the work of the artists of their countries, usually in the form of solo shows.”
“Venice is about a sudden moment of synthesis,…China, the Middle East, Latin America – we start to discover their different modernities, their different pasts...” (P. 251)
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