Art careers

The world of the arts seems chaotic to outsiders, but there is quite a bit of order. Three books provide insights into the careers of creative individuals. (a) David Galenson’s Painting Outside the Lines argues that outstanding artists tend to have critical insights early in their carreers, or they develop an original vision after decades of slow development. Very little in between. (b) I Bought Andy Warhol is about one art dealer’s mission to purchase an Andy Warhol painting for his own private collection. He talks about the hierarchy of artists and the nuts and bolts of the art dealing business. (c) Hit Me, Fred: Recollections of a Sideman is a biography of Fred Wesley, highly respected trombonist and member of the James Brown band. Wesley discusses the life of those skilled musicians known as “sidemen,” who spend their carreers playing in the ensembles of higher profile musicians. These three books give you a nice view of the business of art in the late 20th century, from the perspective of producers and sellers.