Download 9.5 Theses on Art and Class by Ben Davis PDF

By Ben Davis

9.5 Theses on paintings and Class seeks to teach how a transparent knowing of sophistication is smart of what's at stake in a large variety of modern art's such a lot continual debates, from definitions of political paintings to the afflicted prestige of "outsider" and highway artwork to the query of the way we hold religion in artwork itself.

Ben Davis at present lives and works in big apple urban the place he's government Editor at Artinfo.

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Extra resources for 9.5 Theses on Art and Class

Sample text

And you do realize that they ARE people, with physical limits, emotional lives, and families, right? Voices and talents and senses of humor and all that? That when you keep our husbands and wives and children in the office for ninety hours a week, sending them home exhausted and numb and frustrated with their lives, it’s not just them you’re hurting, but everyone around them, everyone who loves them? When you make your profit calculations and your cost analyses, you know that a great measure of that cost is being paid in raw human dignity, right?

The issue of class has moral overtones. If politicians endlessly pay homage to the “middle class” as a way of painting a magical picture of the American economy as an even playing field where we can all potentially realize ourselves, struggling artists may claim the idea of themselves as “working class” partly as a way of putting a name on their own embattled condition and piercing stereotypes that all artists are well-to-do dandies. As the example of Melamed shows, even successful artists routinely have to fight in order to claim what should be theirs.

Yet, as with most debates about art and politics or art and the economy, the conversation felt strangely centerless, as if we were all searching for a common framework upon which to draw. Years later, the feeling that the game is rigged, which gave birth to the New Museum controversy, has only sharpened. The air of decadence has become so claustrophobic that even pundits not particularly known for their radicalism find it intolerable. In mid-2012, Sarah Thornton, author of a breezy bestselling piece of sociology, Seven Days in the Art World, and art beat reporter for the Economist, penned an extraordinary text entitled “Top 10 Reasons NOT to Write about the Art Market,” announcing that she was abandoning coverage of the market altogether.

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