Buskirk argues that understanding the dynamics of art itself cannot be separated from the business of presenting art to the public. As strategies of institutional critique have given way to various forms of collaboration or accommodation, both art and museum conventions have been profoundly altered by their ongoing relationship. The escalating market for contemporary art is another driving force. Even as art remains an idealized activity, it is also understood as a profession, and in increasingly obvious ways a business, particularly as practiced by star artists who preside over branded art product lines.
"The fraught relationship between contemporary art and commerce is a frequent topic of conversation in the art world, but few have addressed it with the lucidity and intelligence that Martha Buskirk has achieved in her new book, Creative Enterprise: Contemporary Art between Museum and Marketplace. With wry humor, Buskirk examines contemporary art's complicated network 'from the biennial circuit to auction.' She places special emphasis on how museums now simultaneously instigate and co-opt what once was thought to be critical discourse as they become ever more aligned with the burgeoning marketplace for culture: the experience economy. This is an eye-opening must read for artists, museum professionals, art students, and members of the museum-going public."
--Jane Farver, Consulting Director, Prospect New Orleans
"If you are interested in the institutions of art, then Martha Buskirk's intelligent, informative book is a must-read."
--Sarah Thornton, author of Seven Days in the Art World
"As the director of a museum dedicated fully to contemporary art, I am happy to welcome Martha Buskirk's book as a significant addition to the field of museum studies. Buskirk is a perpetually engaging writer, and her pages overflow with the most provocative, humorous and informative case studies of the often confounding installations and exhibitions that occur in current art practice. She examines the layers of causality in which the creation of institutions dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art have called into being a type of art that would be unthinkable prior to their existence.
Buskirk works through individual artists' motivations with clear descriptions of the art works, and while she listens intently to the makers' stated intentions she nonetheless enjoys critically examining the works in the context of similar artistic provocations and pushing on their often overlooked conceptual gaps. This is a great primer for both neophytes and arts professionals trying to clearly see the place of nontraditional artworks in today's museum landscape."
--Bill Arning, Director, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
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