Paper $30.00 ISBN: 9780226784694 Will Publish June 2021
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9780226784557 Will Publish June 2021
An e-book edition will be published.

Bound by Creativity

How Contemporary Art Is Created and Judged

Hannah Wohl

Bound by Creativity

Hannah Wohl

232 pages | 24 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2021
Paper $30.00 ISBN: 9780226784694 Will Publish June 2021
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9780226784557 Will Publish June 2021
E-book $30.00 ISBN: 9780226784724 Will Publish June 2021
While our traditional view of creative work might lead us to think of artists as solitary visionaries, the creative process is in fact deeply social. From those trying to land their first solo show to those with dozens of museum exhibitions, artists are influenced by others’ evaluations. In Bound by Creativity, sociologist Hannah Wohl draws on more than one hundred interviews and two years of ethnographic research in the New York contemporary art market, developing a sociological perspective on creativity through the analytic lens of judgment. Wohl takes readers into artists’ studios and shares firsthand how they decide which works to leave unfinished, destroy, put into storage, or exhibit. Wohl then transports readers into the art world, examining the interactions in galleries, international art fairs, and collectors’ homes that shape artists’ understandings of their work.

Wohl shows us how moments of judgment—whether by artists, curators, dealers, or collectors—reveal artistic practices to be profoundly sociological, both because artists’ sensibilities are informed by their interactions with others, and because artists’ decisions about their work affect the objects that circulate through the world. We see that judgment is an integral element of the creative process, resulting in the creation of distinctive and original works.  Creativity, Wohl shows, rests on these highly social dynamics, and exploring it through this lens sheds new light on the production of cultural objects, markets, and prestige. 
1 Introduction: Aesthetic Judgment in the Contemporary Art World

2 The Eccentric Artist: Negotiating Creative Autonomy in the Art World

3 Experimentation and Emotion: Developing Distinctive Creative Visions

4 Interpretive Guides: Exhibiting Work and Shaping Meaning

5 Eyes and Ears: Collecting Work and Maintaining Connoisseurship

6 Producing Creative Visions: Presenting Evolving Trajectories over Careers

7 Conclusion: Aesthetic Judgment in the Creative Process


Methodological Appendix



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