The idea of an art world forms the backbone of my analysis. "Art world" is commonly used by writers on the arts in a loose and metaphoric way, mostly to refer to the most fashionable people associated with those newsworthy objects and events that command astronomical prices. I have used the term in a more technical way, to denote the 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.
Attributed to Howard Becker (1984) in: Jonathan Gray (2009). Television Entertainment. p. 17
Women had to work like slaves in the art world, but a lot of men got to the top through their charm. And it hurt them. To be young and pretty didn't help a woman in the art world, because the social scene, and the buying scene, was in the hands of women – women who had money. They wanted male artists who would come alone and be their charming guests. Rothko could be very charming. It was a court. And the artist buffoons came to the court to entertain, to charm. Now it has changed, now the younger men are in – older women and younger men.
Louise Bourgeois in: Louise Bourgeois, Donald Burton Kuspit (1988). Bourgeois. p. 76
The fine art world and the commercial art industry are both all about money. It's hard to say which is more contemptible: the fine art world with its double talk and pretensions to the cultural high ground, or the world of commercial art trying to sell to the largest mass market it can reach. A serious artist really shouldn't be too deeply involved in either of these worlds. It's best to be on the fringe of them. In general, if you want to be a success and make the money, you have to play the game. It's no different in the fine art world, it's just a slightly different game. Essentially, you're marketing an illusion. It's much easier to lie to humans and trick them than to tell them the truth. They'd much rather be bamboozled than be told the truth, because the way to trick them is to flatter them and tell them what they want to hear, to reinforce their existing illusions. They don't want to know the truth. Truth is a bring-down, a bummer, or it's just too complicated, too much mental work to grasp.
Robert Crumb and Peter Poplaski, The R. Crumb Handbook, (2005), p. 297
The media, the galleries, the collectors – it's all very chaotic actually. The artworld doesn't have this defined corporate structure that people imagine. Of course there's a system of sorts. This person will talk to that person and somebody else will pass it on to somebody else... you can trace a line of power of some kind. But its nothing like as clear and set as people think. And this chaos leads to a lot of insecurity. It's only after an artist has achieved some independence from it that he MODERN PAINTERS can really stand up to the collectors and the dealers and do his art.
Jeff Koons in: Modern Painters. Vol. 2 (1989), p. 63
There are certain figures in the arts who, although minor in accomplishment and equivocal in their aesthetic influence, are so completely representative of the spirit of their age....
The general ignorance of the visual arts, especially their theoretical bases, deplorable even in the so-called intellectual world; the artist’s well-founded despair of ever reaching the mythical “masses” with “advanced art”; the resulting ghetto mentality predominant in the narrow and incestuous art world itself, with its resentful reliance on a very small group of dealers, curators, critics, editors, and collectors who are all too frequently and often unknowingly bound by invisible apron strings to the “real world’s” power structure—all of these factors may make it unlikely that conceptual art will be any better equipped to affect the world any differently than, or even as much as, its less ephemeral counterparts.
Ever since 1953, when Russell Kirk produced its intellectual coat of arms, conservatism has been "what Edmund Burke wrote." This is the equivalent of Arthur Danto’s institutional theory of art — art is whatever the art world says it is. But it’s also a cop-out. Instead of analyzing conservatism in an Aristotelian way, instead of asking how we use the term in real life, we just describe Burke. In the process, don’t we risk fleeing into what Tanenhaus calls an "alternative universe"? If conservatives are "glaringly disconnected from the realities now besetting America," as Tanenhaus says, why is the solution to be more like a man who wore a powdered wig? Liberals have problems of their own, but, to their credit, they don’t sit around debating whether Hillary Clinton or John Edwards is the "real Rousseauian."
I don't like a lot of the stuff that goes on in the art world, but it's hard to be old and like what goes on around you. Anyway, the real point is that the things that don't seem to me to be pictorially informed are not so interesting to me.
Frank Stella interview in: Bomb: X Motion Picture and Center for New Art Activities, 2000 p. 30.
... 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.
Sarah Thornton (2008). Seven Days in the Art World,
The art world is really exactly the same as the sex industry: you have to be completely on guard, you will get shafted, fucked over left, right and centre. And you will also meet charming, wonderful people like a rainbow at the end of the day.
China is an old nation with a colourful history. Its booming economy has triggered an appetite and a curiosity around the world for its art and culture, one that continues to grow. I can, however, tell people that it is a show with no actor.