In her new book, Thornton, best-selling author of Seven Days in the Art World, uses a structure of richly linked, cinematic scenes that allow us access to understanding a dazzling range of artists—including Cindy Sherman, Gabriel Orozco, Marina Abramović, Ai Weiwei, and Christian Marclay, among many others. In this conversation with the Hammer’s Allison Agsten, Thornton discusses her research—how she rummaged through artists’ bank accounts, bedrooms, and studios and witnessed their crises and triumphs-- as well as the wildly different answers—and non-answers—she received to the question, “What is an artist?”
Sarah Thornton is a non-fiction writer and sociologist of art. 33 Artists in 3 Acts, her long-awaited follow-up to Seven Days in the Art World, a witty account of the machinations of the art world which was an international hit. Thornton has written regularly for The Economist and many other publications. She lives in London but travels widely.
Allison Agsten, has served as Curator of Public Engagement at the Hammer Museum since 2010 where she directs an innovative new curatorial program focused on creating an exchange between visitors and the museum through works of art. Agsten previously worked at LACMA, where she developed a number of pioneering digital projects, and prior to that at CNN, where she was a producer regularly covering the arts.