You are on page 1of 3

Art and Artists: Sociological Perspectives

Sociology 149a, Summer 2009 MTTh 10-12:15, Bromfield-Pearson 7

James G. Ennis
Eaton 112: 617 627 2473 Office Hours before or after class; course web site: This course examines social influences on the making, reception and development of art, including painting, music, dance, literature and other forms. Topics include: artists' roles, careers and identities; networks, markets and the art world; institutions such as museums, galleries and art schools; styles, genres, innovation and censorship. Historical comparisons and contrasts will be made with other cultural forms.

evaluate, criticize, and apply the materials of the course from your own perspective and to your own intellectual/artistic project acquire a feel for what is characteristic and distinctive in the sociological approach, and to grasp its richness, strengths, partialities and limits.

Format: Lectures and discussion of the readings will alternate with films and possible guest speakers. I expect you to have read and thought about the readings for each class, and to be ready to discuss them constructively. Your grade will be based on class participation (30%) and a take-home midterm (30%). You may choose either an in-class final exam or a final paper (40%).
My goals for the course are for you to see 'art' and 'society' (and perhaps yourself) from new perspectives) understand each more systematically understand their interconnections, specifically how each can illuminate the others

Texts: (first two are available in the bookstore ) Becker, Howard S. Art Worlds. University of California Press, 1982 (abbreviated as B below) Alexander, Victoria D., Sociology of the Arts: Exploring Fine and Popular Forms. Blackwell 2003 (abbreviated as A below) Thornton, Sarah, Seven Days in the Art World. Norton, 2008 (abreviated as T below; you can find it online or elsewhere) There will be supplementary readings available online .
Some selections are in two out-of-print books: Foster, Arnold W. and Judith Blau. eds, Art and Society: Readings in the Sociology of the Arts. SUNY Press, 1989. (abbreviated as FB below) White, Harrison C., Careers and Creativity: Social Forces in the Arts. Westview, 1993 (abbreviated as W below) Readings recommended, not required, are marked by a

Provisional Schedule, Readings, Questions: 1. Th 5/21 Beginnings: Introduction to the course; perspectives, processes, resources, requirements, etc. Getting acquainted with one another. What do you want to know, and what do you bring to this project? 2. Tu 5/26 Sociological Perspectives: B: Ch. 1 'Art worlds and collective activity.' [40] A, Preface, Ch. 1, Introduction: What is art? T. Introduction Berger, John, 1972 Ways of Seeing. Ch 1 Benjamin, Walter, 'The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction' In Illuminations. Schocken, 1969

Griff, Mason, 1976 'The recruitment and socialization of artists', in M.C. Albrecht et al. eds. ., The Sociology of Art ant Literature: A Reader. Praeger Adler, Judith, 1979 Artists In Offices. Ch. 1 Transaction Publishing Singerman, Howard, 1999 Art Subjects: Making Artists in the American University. Ch 7: 'Toward a theory of the MFA'

3. Th 5/28 How to understand a work of art sociologically A, Ch 2-4, Reflection approaches, Shaping approaches, A mediated view: The cultural diamond White, Harrison C., Preface and Ch 2'The Pre-Raphaelites' in Careers and Creativity Blau, Judith, 'Study of the arts: A reappraisal' In Annual Review of Sociology Lang , Gladys Engel, 'Art and Society'. from The International Encyclopedia of Sociology 4. M 6/1 Making art 1: Shared Ideas, Resources, Choices B, Ch. 2, 'Conventions', Ch 3. 'Mobilizing resources' A Ch 5, Art worlds B Ch. 7 'Editing', pp 192-217 Max, D.T. 'The Carver Chronicles' New York Times Magazine, 8/9/98 5. T 6/2 Careers Spiegelman, Art, 'Forms stretched to their limits: What kind of person could have dreamed up Plastic Man?' New Yorker, 4/19/99 Saltz, Jerry, 'Auntie-hero: The triumph of Alice Neel.' Village Voice, 7/25/2000:65 Sutherland, 'Ballet as a career' pp. 97-110 in FB Levy, 'The choice of acting as a profession' in FB Menger, Pierre-Michel, 'Artistic Labor Markets and Careers' Annual Review Of Sociology 1999 25: 541Z, Ch. 5, 'Are artists born or made?' [30] 6. Th 6/4 Institutions shaping artists: art schools Temin, Christine, 'Museum school: The MFAs wild child' Boston Globe Magazine, May 5. 1996 T, Ch 2, The crit Strauss, Anselm, 1976 'The art school and its students: A study and an interpretation' in M.C. Albrecht et al. eds. ., The Sociology of Art ant Literature: A Reader. Praeger

7. M 6/8 The artists habitus Johnson, Randal, 1993 'Editors introduction: Pierre Bourdieu on Art, Literature and culture.' pp. 3-9 in P. Bourdieu, The Field Of Cultural Production. Columbia U. Press Bourdieu, Pierre, short selections on field and habitus from Invitation to Reflexive Sociology Bourdieu, Pierre, 'Introduction' to Photography: A Middlebrow Art. Stanford 1990 [1965] Simpson, Charles 'The unsuccessful SoHo artist: The social psychology of an occupation' and 'The successful artist in the SoHo market.' Ch 4 and 5 in Soho: The Artist In The City. Chicago . 8. Tu 6/9 Creativity in networks B, Ch. 8, 'Integrated professionals, mavericks, folk artists and naive artists.' [45], A Ch 8, Artists T, ch 6, The studio visit Peterson and White, 'The simplex located in art worlds' in FB Faulkner, 'Orchestra interaction: Some features of communication and authority in an artistic organization.' from FB Couch, 'The orchestra as factory: Interrelationships of occupational change, social structure and musical style.'
* take-home midterms due

9. Th 6/11 Gatekeepers B, Ch 5, 'Aesthetics, aestheticians and critics.' A Ch 12, Art and social boundaries T Ch 4, The prize Brystyn, Art galleries as gatekeepers: The case of the abstract expressionists' Ridgeway, 'Artists groups: Patrons and gatekeepers.' Simpson, Charles, 'The dealer: Gatekeeper to the art world.' Ch. 3 in SOHO: The Artist in the City Giddens, Gary, 'What American Academy?' Village Voice 6/23/92: 89 Manley, Lorne, 'Gifted Critics.' Brills Content, June 1999, pp 45-46 10. M 6/15 Art Markets T ch 1, 3: The auction, The fair B, Ch. 4, 'Distributing art works' [35] A Ch 6., Businesses and industries Simpson, Charles, 'The structure of the SOHO art market', Ch. 2 in SOHO. Steiner, C.B., African Art in Transit, Ch 5, 'The quest for authenticity and the invention of African art'

11. Tu 6/16 Audiences A Ch 10- 11, Reception approaches", Audience studies T h 5, The magazine Dimaggio and Useem, 'Cultural democracy in a period of expansion: The social composition of art audiences in the US' in FB [30] Crane, Diana, 1992 'High culture versus popular culture revisited: A reconceptualization of recorded cultures.' in M. Lamont and M. Fournier, Cultivating Differences. Chicago.' Nation survey of the public's art preferences Ross, Andrew, 'Poll Stars' ArtForum , Jan 1995 12. Th 6/18 Museums T Ch 7 The Biennale Zolberg, Vera L, 1992 'Barrier or leveler: The case of the art museum.' In M. Lamont and M. Fournier (eds.) Cultivating Differences. Chicago Huxtable, Ada Louise, 'Museums: Making it new.' The New York Review of Books, 4/22/1999 Saltz, Jerry, 'Modern maturity: From YBA to ATM, a new London art scene.' Village Voice 1/2/2001:59 Perl, Jed, 'Welcome To The Funhouse: Tate Modern And The Crisis Of The Museum.: New Republic 6/19/2000:30Filler, Martin, 'The museum game: The Guggenheim wants to re-create Bilbao on Wall Street' The New Yorker, 4/17/2000 Mirapaul, Matthew, 'Guggenheims latest branch is to open in cyberspace.' Kimmelman, Michael, 1998 'Kiki Smith' in Portraits Thurman, Judith, 'Man of the cloth: Armani at the Guggenheim' New Yorker, 11/6/2000: 10013. M 6/22 Models of Change B, Ch 10, Change in art worlds.' White, Harrison , Ch 4, 'Six major shifts of style' Crane, 'The reward systems in avant garde art: Social networks and stylistic change.' in FB [10] Collings, Matthew, It Hurts: New York Art From Warhol to Now. 21 Publishing pp. 47See also: Suzi Gablik, Progress in Art? 14. T 6/23 What lasts? B: Ch 11, 'Reputation'; also pp. 217-225 'Death and conservation' A Ch 15, Studying art sociologically Beem, Edgar Allen, 'Rockwell rising', Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, 1/16/2000 Kino, Carol, 'The baddest of bad art.' Atlantic 4 /2000: 115-119 Schjedahl, 'British flash' The New Yorker 11/6/2000 Schinto, Jeanne, , 'Obscure objects of lapsed desire' Atlantic Monthly 12/2000 Trebay, Guy, American Graffiti: Uncoding Kieth Harings Language of Signs' Village Voice June 17, 1997 15. Th 6/25 Final exam, in class, or submit your final paper.