33 Artists in 3 Acts

Sarah Thornton. Norton, $26.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-393-24097-9
Thornton (Seven Days in the Art World) paints a masterful picture of 33 artists, keenly bringing details of their lives to the surface with a skilled hand and without overwhelming the reader. The product of four years of work, the book is divided into its eponymous three acts; each chapter, or “scene,” focuses on one artist, with artists sometimes appearing in multiple “scenes.” The activist Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, receives much favorable attention; one notable chapter takes place in the wake of his arrest at the hands of Chinese government authorities. Married American artists Caroll Dunham and Laurie Simmons are surveyed together, then separately, in multiple chapters, with Thornton exploring their artistic relationships and the gender dynamics therein. Thornton builds on such analyses to offer astute, accessible commentary on the gendered dimensions of modern art. With effortless sophistication, Thornton takes readers on a journey across the globe and into the homes and minds of contemporary artists. In the process, she banishes cynicism about modern art, revealing it to be a volatile, healthy enterprise still deeply engaged with the world. 44 illus. Agent: Sarah Chalfant, the Wylie Agency. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/04/2014
Release date: 11/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-393-24581-3
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