Download 33 Artists in 3 Acts Audiobook

33 Artists in 3 Acts Audiobook, by Sarah Thornton Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Sarah Thornton Narrator: Tavia Gilbert Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2014 ISBN: 9781494577674
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33 Artists in 3 Acts offers unprecedented access to a dazzling range of artists, from international superstars to unheralded art teachers. Sarah Thornton's beautifully paced, fly-on-the-wall narratives include visits with Ai Weiwei before and after his imprisonment and Jeff Koons as he woos new customers in London, Frankfurt, and Abu Dhabi. She meets Yayoi Kusama in her studio around the corner from the Tokyo asylum that she calls home. She snoops in Cindy Sherman's closet, hears about Andrea Fraser's psychotherapist, and spends quality time with Laurie Simmons, Carroll Dunham, and their daughters Lena and Grace.

Through these intimate scenes, 33 Artists in 3 Acts explores what it means to be a real artist in the real world. Divided into three cinematic "acts"—politics, kinship, and craft—it investigates artists' psyches, personas, politics, and social networks. Witnessing their crises and triumphs, Thornton turns a wry, analytical eye on their different answers—and non-answers—to the question, "What is an artist?" Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Inspiring—as unique as each of the artists featured.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • With effortless sophistication, Thornton takes readers on a journey across the globe and into the homes and minds of contemporary artists. Publishers Weekly Starred Review
  • “A vivid and entertaining read…Thornton meets some interesting artists and her direction can be playful. Her interviews with Andrea Fraser stand out, as do all her meetings with Ai Weiwei.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Writing with verve, insight, and authenticity…Thornton’s method is to let her hubristic subjects hang themselves by their own nooses. She is skillfully nuanced on the artist Christian Marclay.”

    Financial Times

  • “[Thornton’s] interviews, interwoven to show conjunctions and contrasts, cohere into a strong three-part whole: first politics, then kinship, and finally, a readable interrogation of what’s so often overlooked: craft.”

    New York magazine

  • “A readable, approachable introduction to the rock stars of [contemporary art] and their work.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Engaging and ingenious.”

    New Statesman

  • “How can one be a real artist in the real world? Thornton sets off to find out, meeting and debating with many of the most important artists around the globe. Credibility, integrity, legitimacy, recognition, and truth in art are all tackled here. While the basis of the book is contemporary art, the themes are of universal interest.”

    Bookseller (London)

  • “With effortless sophistication, Thornton takes readers on a journey across the globe and into the homes and minds of contemporary artists. In the process, she banishes cynicism about modern art, revealing it to be a volatile, healthy enterprise still deeply engaged with the world.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “[A]n invaluable, incisive, and exciting guide to today’s deliriously diverse, sophisticated, scandalous, and profound art world.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “With energy and enthusiasm narrator Tavia Gilbert fills the roles of both critic and confidante while narrating this detailed and personalized look at the lives of thirty-three artists who live and work in the globe-trotting contemporary art world of gallery openings, patrons, biennales, and money…Gilbert’s delivery perfectly reflects the author’s dual reaction of admiration and ambivalence towards the art installations and the artists who create the works (sometimes with the help of dozens of assistants) for what has become a multibillion-dollar worldwide industry.”


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About the Author

Sarah Thornton is a writer and sociologist of art. Formerly the chief correspondent on contemporary art for the Economist, she has written for many other publications, including Artforum, the Guardian, and the New Yorker, and she has contributed to broadcasts at the BBC, NPR, and ZDF. A frequent guest speaker, she has given talks and participated in panels at museums, universities, and literary festivals around the world. Sarah has a BA in art history and a PhD in sociology. She lives in London.

About the Narrator

Tavia Gilbert is an acclaimed narrator of more than four hundred full-cast and multivoice audiobooks for virtually every publisher in the industry. Named the 2018 Voice of Choice by Booklist magazine, she is also winner of the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. She has earned numerous Earphones Awards, a Voice Arts Award, and a Listen-Up Award. has named her a Genre-Defining Narrator: Master of Memoir. In addition to voice acting, she is an accomplished producer, singer, and theater actor. She is also a producer, singer, photographer, and a writer, as well as the cofounder of a feminist publishing company, Animal Mineral.