Regular price: $30.09

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

33 Artists in 3 Acts offers unprecedented access to a dazzling range of artists, from international superstars to unheralded art teachers. Sarah Thornton's beautifully paced, fly-on-the-wall narratives include visits with Ai Weiwei before and after his imprisonment and Jeff Koons as he woos new customers in London, Frankfurt, and Abu Dhabi. She meets Yayoi Kusama in her studio around the corner from the Tokyo asylum that she calls home. She snoops in Cindy Sherman's closet, hears about Andrea Fraser's psychotherapist, and spends quality time with Laurie Simmons, Carroll Dunham, and their daughters Lena and Grace.

Through these intimate scenes, 33 Artists in 3 Acts explores what it means to be a real artist in the real world. Divided into three cinematic "acts" - politics, kinship, and craft - it investigates artists' psyches, personas, politics, and social networks. Witnessing their crises and triumphs, Thornton turns a wry, analytical eye on their different answers - and non-answers - to the question, "What is an artist?"

©2014 Sarah Thornton (P)2014 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"With effortless sophistication, Thornton takes readers on a journey across the globe and into the homes and minds of contemporary artists." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    53
  • 4 Stars
    46
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    6

Performance

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    46
  • 4 Stars
    31
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    6

Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    46
  • 4 Stars
    39
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    3
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Very interesting, not engaging read

Love the interviews. Sarah Thornton def had lovely access. Not so into her descriptions and francophiliac writing. Not a fan of the narrator. All that said, totally worth the listen. Excellent subjects and interviews.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

vulgar

This book gives a seedy view of the art world, while true it seemed to focus on the sensational aspects of the art world and not on the substance. It was pretentious about its open unpretentiousness.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Gene
  • Grahamsville, NY, United States
  • 12-04-16

Very interesting interview reportage

The narrative flows nicely from one artist to the next.The author incorporates not only insights into the specific artists' approaches and philosophies but puts it all in a global context. The author looks at the people and the rolls they play in the art world today. It's difficult to conclude after listening to this book, that what is being touted today as the best contemporary art will stand the test of time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fabulous!!

If you could sum up 33 Artists in 3 Acts in three words, what would they be?

Fascinating, enlightening and real.

What was one of the most memorable moments of 33 Artists in 3 Acts?

I loved Sarah Thorton's subtle comparison of Ai Weiwei with Jeff Koons. I had never considered the artists to be opposites before and yet their work symbolically critiques each other. Brilliant!

What about Tavia Gilbert’s performance did you like?

Gilbert's inflection was perfect, her pauses were appropriate and her voice felt warm and welcoming. I enjoyed spending 12 hours in the car with her.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I could never listen to this book in a single sitting. I listened to it in 30 minute chunks, and it gave me a lot to think about at the end of each day.

Any additional comments?

This book is for art lovers and delves deep into the art market. A text version of this book with photos would be much more enjoyable to a casual art lover. I would only listen to this audio book if you already have a strong background of contemporary art history and know several of the artists that Thornton writes about.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Insightful - fun to listen to

Where does 33 Artists in 3 Acts rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The value in this book is the insightful perspective the author has garnered over many years in the art world--perhaps better access than anyone among this segment of the art world. Her writing is superb, fun and entertaining besides educational.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fascinating and lively narrative

Addictive and provocative book. Just like Seven days in the art world. A must read if you are interested in the fascinating topic of contemporary art.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Around the Old Globe

I found this book about artists from around the globe fascinating. Being very familiar with art and artists, I listened knowing that the artists chosen were hugely successful but were a minuscule section of the art world at large. This could be good or bad news. That said, it was interesting to hear about the days in the lives of these art stars that everyone in the field is familiar with. Thornton had a way of pulling the curtain back on these artists, exposing their everyday, their gimmicks (if applicable), their strengths and weaknesses, but also their humanity.

The narration was good and I imagined in the tone of the writer.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Abridgements. Doesn't match text in kindle book

Unfortunately, the audiobook simplifies words and phrases that are in the eBook. If you are listening and reading them together, this is disconcerting. On their own, each form of this book (audio, text) are very good.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

entertaining, enlightening

Would you listen to 33 Artists in 3 Acts again? Why?

This book delivers on its promise. It takes you into the lives of several contemporary artists, and it revealed the state of modern art.

What was one of the most memorable moments of 33 Artists in 3 Acts?

The moments when Thornton was able to bring us into the artists' process were the most fascinating to me. Mainly, because many times, I had to reconsider what I thought art was - and what the role of the artist was in its creation.

Have you listened to any of Tavia Gilbert’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not heard any other performances.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The beasts

Another great account by the one and only Sarah Thornton. We are transported right at her side while she elbows her way around the sometimes caged art world and she dominates the beasts so well! I love those beasts even more now!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful