Saturday, May 29, 2010

Status Anxiety: A Social Scientist’s View of the Art World

In a recent article in The Australian, Matthew Westwood writes about Canadian social scientist Sarah Thornton, whose book Seven Days in the Art World (cover above) “explores the dynamics of creativity, taste, judgment, status, money, and the search for beauty in life.” In other words, this social scientist argues that contemporary art is not a science, and that judging great art and great artists has always been a cutthroat business in which status rather than talent often reigns supreme. It’s easy to understand these concepts when discussing contemporary art, where status is as freshly bestowed and easily wiped clear as wet paint. But Thornton’s thesis holds value even for the hallowed halls of art history. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Status Anxiety."