chapter ii

chapter ii

6.08.2010

Books

Also, on the theme of contemporary art, the craziness of the market, value, hype, etc. here's a link to a book that I thought was so good. I had originally planned my honeymoon reading around 2 book recommendations I found on Charlotte Moss's blog Tete-a-Tete.
One was Built of Books: How Reading Defined the Life of Oscar Wilde, and the other was Pauline Bonaparte Venus of Empire by Flora Fraser about Napolean's "intriguing" and "favorite sister" "considered by many in Europe to be the most beautiful woman in the world."

I thought they would get me in a European mood. And while I liked them both, I lost energy on the Oscar book one day when I caught sight of the book shelves offered by the hotel we were staying in. And as our bar tender mentioned that some people who stayed at the hotel came every year and some stayed for a month at time, I figured the books were leftovers of whoever these people are who can do that. So, I borrowed one. But, I liked it so much and wasn't finished with it the day we left, so I stole. Well, I traded. Left the Oscar book for the new one which was Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton.

It's a really entertaining account of the different aspects of the art world. Especially, the ins and outs of the contemporary art market. It's full of interesting quotes, anecdotes, observations, and incites into this crazy phenomena of our time. She's a great writer, I suspect a s'moreish type,
so you stay entertained from start to finish, all the while you have access to sectors of the art world you otherwise probably wouldn't. You go from Christie's auction house to an LA art school seminar/critique, to the Basel Art Fair, the competition behind the Turner Prize, behind the scenes at Artforum magazine, face to face with Takashi Murakami, and end at the Venice Biennale.

What I liked most were the parts about art and value. How contemporary art evades intrinsic value and is sold for millions upon millions of $$$ sometimes. It takes your thoughts down interesting paths of why and how something like that would happen. What it is that people are drawn to. What people deem to be art and who they deem to be artists. Who is collecting it all, and how the market works on a conceptual basis--that being, that it is basically an abstract market held up by a shared belief in art. It's manipulated, and influenced, and works as a double edged sword- being a testament to its power as well as acting almost hypocritically on a fundamental basis. Art's success is as much about reflections of life in a material form as it is about whose hands it has passed through. And as my tongue is beginning to get tied, I direct you in Thornton's direction to get a clearer idea of whatever it is I'm try to say. As for me, I'm going to pick back up Pauline Bonaparte and maybe try for a few Henty books.

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