The book that saved my [art] life
Tom Wolfe, author, man-in-white, and social observer, is in Washington, DC to lecture and sign copies of his latest book.
It is however, Wolfe's 1975 book The Painted Word, the one that I consider the most influential book on art, nepotism, networking, manipulation and 20th century art history (OK, OK art observations), that I have ever read.
If you want to understand the true beginnings of what we now call "contemporary art" and the seminal birth of the elitist attitudes of many intelligent members of the high art apparatnik, then read this book.
"The painter," Wolfe writes, "had to dedicate himself to the quirky god Avant-Garde. He had to keep one devout eye peeled for the new edge on the blade of the wedge of the head on the latest pick thrust of the newest exploratory probe of this fall's avant-garde Breakthrough of the Century.... At the same time he had to keep his other eye cocked to see if anyone in le monde was watching."
I read it when I first started Art School and it saved my Art Life and it cemented the foundations of what has become my opinions, judgements and attitudes towards art.