By Howard S. Becker
This vintage sociological exam of artwork as collective motion explores the cooperative community of providers, performers, buyers, critics, and shoppers who—along with the artist—"produce" a piece of artwork. Howard S. Becker appears to be like on the conventions necessary to this operation and, prospectively, on the volume to which artwork is formed via this collective task. The e-book is punctiliously illustrated and up-to-date with a brand new discussion among Becker and eminent French sociologist Alain Pessin concerning the prolonged social process within which paintings is created, and with a brand new preface during which the writer talks approximately his personal method in developing this influential paintings.
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Extra resources for Art Worlds
A character in Tom Stoppard's Travesties expresses the idea succinctly: "An artist is someone who is gifted in some way that enables him to do something more or less well which can only be done badly or not at all by someone who is not thus gifted" (Stoppard, 1975, p. 38). We know who has these gifts by the work they do because, these shared beliefs hold, the work of art expresses and embodies those special, rare powers. By inspecting the work we see that someone special made it. We think it important to know who has that gift and who does not because we accord people who have it special rights and privileges.
They 17 • ART WORLDS AND COLLECTIVE ACTIVITY define the people who perform these other activities as (to borrow a military term) support personnel, reserving the title of "artist" for those who perform the core activities. The status of any particular activity, as a core activity which requires special artistic gifts or as mere support, can change. As we have seen, making paintings was once thought of as skilled work, but no more than that, and became defined as something more special in the Renaissance.
But since, as we will see, the regular means of carrying on support activities substantially constrain what can be done, not to have them available, inconvenient or worse as that may be, also opens up otherwise unavailable possibilities. Access to all the regular means of doing things is a mixed blessing. This is not, then, a functionalist theory which suggests that activities must occur in a particular way or the social system will not survive. The social systems which produce art survive in all sorts of ways, though never exactly as they have in the past.
Art Worlds by Howard S. Becker