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The Art Prophets: The Artists, Dealers, and Tastemakers Who Shook the Art World Hardcover – October 25, 2011

3.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[An] entertaining book of essays… Polsky’s inside information and chatty tone make for a stimulating read.” —Artinfo.com

“[The Art Prophets is] an honor for every prophet profiled, and a surprising, smart read for creative aficionados, or anyone interested in art’s future and the icons who paved the way.” —Royal Young, InterviewMagazine.com

“Clear, concise and energized by the author’s fiery passion for his subject.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Part art history, part character study and biography, this wonderful book about the business of art reads like a runaway horse. You don’t dare jump off! Hang on and enjoy every page.”— Sophy Burnham, author of The Art Crowd

“…A highly readable and fascinating look at the last 50-plus years of art history, rendered concisely in a few hundred pages.” –Carol Inkellis, Pacific Sun

About the Author

Richard Polsky is the author of I Sold Andy Warhol (Too Soon), I Bought Andy Warhol, and The Art Market Guide (1995–1998). He began his professional career in the art world thirty-two years ago and in 1984 founded Acme Art, where he showed the work of such artists as Joseph Cornell, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, and Bill Traylor. Since 1989 he has been a private dealer specializing in works by postwar artists, with an emphasis on Pop Art. He lives in Sausalito, California.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Other Press (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590514068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590514061
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Art Prophets starts out with a chapter on a relatively well-understood area - Pop Art - with particulars that will surprise many fans of that genre. From there it moves into areas we've heard of or seen, but know much less about - comic book and poster art are two examples.

The chapter on outsider art is another. You may have seen or heard of the work of Bill Traylor or the Philadelphia Wireman, depending on what exhibitions have been mounted in your part of the world when you were paying enough attention. But few of us will have heard of John Ollman, the straw that stirred this drink from a gallery whose owner had the vision to turn it all over to him; or of Virginia Dwan, the comely and well-heeled patron of earthworks one needs to mount a trek to in order to see.

We gain a broadened knowledge of, and a deepened appreciation for, the wide spectrum of contemporary fine art movements. You've heard of Christo, even seen one or two of his works, maybe even in person; but how his work differs from those made possible by Dwan's patronage, and her artists' persistence, is explained and detailed here. And the survey isn't confined to the settled past: some contemporary practitioners, emerging even as the book went to press - ceramicists Diego Romero and Jane McDonald are two - get their very interesting due.

All the while, the writing is smart without being pedantic, lively but not histrionic, engaging but not showy or self-centered. Polsky, whose prior books on the contemporary art world have been humorous romps fueled by dishy tales of the eccentric players on that stage, here provides no-nonsense accounts of the ten selected movements he charts, and how they came to be.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found his first two books to be very informative about the art world, but this book is just a rambling tour of the sixties, the comic book and poster culture. Not very concrete or accurate. Frankly, got bored several chapters in.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Highly recommended for those who are interested in how the art world became what it is today. This easy to read, interesting book discusses some of the highly influential, forward thinking art dealers and artists who helped change the very definition of art.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A quick read covering an assortment of very different contemporary art trends in America.

The author, Richard Polsky, writes in a Pop Art-like breathless style, with many snap aesthetic judgements that are unlikely to stand the test of time. He often appears more interested in how someone turned a good buck on the latest rage than on a mature evaluation of the artists and artworks that have caught his personal fancy.

Two wildly separate side points: 1. I think it was despicable for Tony Shafrazi in 1974 to vandalize Picasso's Guernica and I object to Mr. Shafrazi's inclusion as an "art prophet" in this book; and, 2. It strikes me that the book's jacket design by Carin Goldberg is perfect.
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