The art world
is composed of all the people involved in the production, commission, preservation, promotion, criticism
Art criticism is the discussion or evaluation of visual art.Art critics usually criticize art in the context of aesthetics or the theory of beauty...
, and sale of art
Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect....
. Howard S. Becker
Howard Saul Becker is an American sociologist who made major contributions to the sociology of deviance, sociology of art, and sociology of music. Becker also wrote extensively on sociological writing styles and methodologies. In addition, Becker's book The Outsiders provided the foundations for...
describes it as "the network of people whose cooperative activity, organized via their joint knowledge of conventional means of doing things, produce(s) the kind of art works that art world is noted for" (Becker, 1982). Sarah Thornton describes it as "a loose network of overlapping subcultures held together by a belief in art. They span the globe but cluster in art capitals like New York, London, Los Angeles, and Berlin."
The notion of the singular art world
is problematic, since Becker and others have shown, art worlds are multiplicities, they are globally scattered, constantly in flux, and typically operating independently of each other: there really is no center to the art world any more. In her analysis of the "Net Art World" (referring to network-aided art or net art Amy Alexander states "net.art had a movement, at the very least it had coherence, and although it aimed to subvert the art world, eventually its own sort of art world formed around it. It developed a culture, hype and mystique through lists and texts; it had a center, insiders, outsiders, even nodes. This is of course not a failure; this is unavoidable: groups form; even anarchism is an institution."
Art worlds can exist at the local and regional levels, as hidden or obscured subcultures, via primary and secondary art markets, through gallery circuits, around design movements, and more esoterically as shared or perceived experiences.
The one globalized, all-encompassing art world does exist---but it does so as a myth; more accurately, there are multiplicities of intersecting, overlapping, self-similar art worlds, each expressing different views of the world as they see it.
New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz
Jerry Saltz is an American art critic. Since 2006, he has been senior art critic and a columnist for New York magazine. Formerly the senior art critic for The Village Voice, Saltz has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism three times. He was the sole advisor for the 1995 Whitney...
has referred to William Powhida
William Powhida is a visual artist and former art critic born in 1976 in New York. His work addresses the contemporary art industry.Topics have included creating an "enemies" list as well as letters addressed to contemporary curators , collectors and critics, requesting recognition...
's and Jade Townsend's drawing "Art Basel Miami Beach Hooverville" as "a great big art-world stinkbomb."
Simon Frith is a British sociologist, and former rock critic, who specializes in popular music culture. He is currently Tovey Chair of Music at University of Edinburgh.-Background:...
describes three art worlds present in the music industry: the art music world, folk music world, and commercial music world. Timothy Taylor (2004) associates these worlds with three popular music genres: rock, rap, and pop, respectively.
- Sanjeck, David. "Institutions." Key Terms in Popular Music and Culture. Malden, MA
Malden is a suburban city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 59,450 at the 2010 census. In 2009 Malden was ranked as the "Best Place to Raise Your Kids" in Massachusetts by Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine.-History:...
: Blackwell Publishers, 1999. ISBN 0-631-21263-9
- Thornton, Sarah. Seven Days in the Art World New York: WW Norton, 2008.