Nov 30, 2011

REVIEW| Seven Days In the Art World, Sarah Thornton, W. W. Norton & Company 2008

I would have to admit trying to understand the Contemporary Art world dose not always come easy for me. At times it is hard to distinguish what is really art and what is not. It might seem as if I am still living in the past with classical artwork, or maybe just nervous to get my hands a little dirty with Contemporary Art. Through the semester I learned and accepted that we as artist have to create art as of today. Times have changed tremendously and it does not seem that it will slow down anytime soon. Therefore I’m more open minded when it comes to contemporary art, but indeed there is a lot to still learn.

Sarah Thornton’s book Seven Days in the Art World, divides her observations of different Art environment into seven different narrative chapters.  Throughout the book she is constantly interviewing a variety of people hoping to get a better understanding about contemporary art. Some are very opinionated when it comes to what art really is.  Maybe it is something we just feel or have an emotional connection to when we look at it.

In her first chapter “ The Auction” Philippe Segalot who is an art consultant believes “You feel something,” he says with fervor. “ I don’t need to read about art. I’m not interested in the literature about art.  I get all the art magazines, but don’t read them.  I don’t want to be influenced by reviews. I look. I fill myself with images. I am convinced that great art speaks for itself.” In all honestly I admit that I do not always read, but I think if it is something as important as art and buying it, a person should know a little bit of background about the piece even the artist name. Then again Segalot probably has better intuition than I do considering all the money that is involved when it comes to buying.

It is quite obvious that huge amounts of money play a part in the art world. In order to own such fabulous work you have to have money and a high social class even a certain appearance.  The color and worth of a painting tends to determine if it is sold or not.  Sometimes its color and subject matter that gets the piece sold. Though the pieces are not living they go though a lot of judgment as if they were in a there own social circle. Sarah Thornton ask what kind of art sells at action? Amy Cappellazzo replies “people have a litmus test with color. Brown paintings don’t sell as well as blue or red paintings. A glum painting is not going to go as well as a painting that makes people feel happy.”  If it makes a person happy then it is bought.  It is a feeling of vanity a person might get when buying clothes. There is social value when it comes to buying art, and a feeling of who's who.  Seven days in the art world is full of different ways of understanding the Contemporary Art world even if it is out of price range for the average person.  It does not mean we should not try to learn from it. 

-Brittany Rutledge


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  2. I totally relate with this uneasy feeling about contemporary art. Before this semester I stuck with what I knew about art, which was mainly the classical and renaissance periods. Our class and posts like this have really helped me to open up and not take art quite so seriously. Art can have a million different meanings, it all depends on the viewer. This idea of unlimited meanings is partially what was so hard for me to take in since I am used to art having one particular intent, whether it be political, religious, etc.
    "Maybe it is something we just feel or have an emotional connection to when we look at it." I couldn't have said this better myself, this is such a simple and spot on idea of what the art world is to some. I also think it's interesting and quite humorous that so many people in the art world put out this image that they don't care what other people think of them or that they only like "weird" art. Then we learn the reality from statistics such as the ones given in this book of what really sells in the art world. Surprise surprise, art buyers and critics are just like everyone else out there, they just pay the big bucks for something that hangs on your wall rather than other material objects.

    - Samantha Jorgensen

  3. I liked what was said above about the pieces of art, however not living are judged as if they were in their own social circle. I feel this is especially the case when the museum or art auction houses are involved. Sometimes the art being in these settings creates or ruins the context of the art work. When auction houses job is to sell the art, they will do whatever they can to make the piece of art desirable to a potential buyer. I feel that this ruins the artwork solely for the purpose of profit.

    -John Hall