33 Artists in 3 Acts - Sarah Thornton
If meeting 33 Artists in 3 Acts (W.W. Norton, $26.95) seems dizzying, relax. As introduced by Sarah Thornton, author of the acclaimed Seven Days in the Art World, each of these creators comes across as unique and fascinating. Thornton knows today’s art world intimately and discusses its politics and markets as informatively as she presents its leading figures, from Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst to Ai Weiwei and Zeng Fanzhi, Marina Abramovic and Andrea Fraser to the entire Dunham clan—paterfamilias Carroll, his wife Laurie Simmons, and their multi-talented daughter, Lena. In a format that effectively puts her subjects in dialogue with one another, Thornton starts each interview with the question: What is an artist? She elicits a wide array of responses: an artist may be “a myth,” a “product designer,” an “internal other,” a “particular instance of the possible”; all are “hard workers.” As is Thornton, whose rich descriptions of personalities, relationships, and works—paintings, installations, films, sculptures, and less easily categorizable creations, such as Abramovic’s “immaterial energy”—belie the short chapters in which she tours studios and galleries, auditoriums and auction houses.