Sarah Thornton, who wrote the seminal book Seven Days in the Art World, is scheduled to make an appearance at the Art Fair Philippines 2017.
Her talk on Friday, Feb 17 at 5pm is certainly one of the most anticipated events of this year’s Art Fair and below, we extract a portion of her interview with Manila Bulletin.
You are scheduled to visit the Philippines soon. What have you read about Filipino art and what are you most excited to see?
I am genuinely excited to see Art Fair Philippines. I hope to obtain an overview of recent works by Filipino artists. I’ve never been to the Philippines before [so] my knowledge is currently limited.
Do you have place you want to visit, people you want to meet, or art you want to check out when you arrive in the Philippines?
I am friends with Isa Lorenzo and Rachel Rillo who run Silverlens Gallery, so I am keen to see their space and meet their artists. Also, I am excited to meet Anton and Xandra Ramos as the National Book Store is a good supporter and will host a book signing. Plus, I very much look forward to reuniting with my esteemed colleague Alexandra Seno (with whom I will have a conversation on stage at the fair).
How do you think social media changes the dynamics of the art market?
It’s hard to say. Having many Instagram followers does seem to have become a form of endorsement, but many of the people who have the highest numbers of followers are excluded from the art world because they are perceived as commercial designers, rather than artists per se. Instagram has become the key social media vehicle in the US and Europe. It is an important means by which museums and galleries promote what they do.
What do you think of the Asian art market in general?
I am not an authority on the Asian art market, but from my position in America, I am under the impression that Hong Kong is the hub of the Asian art world more than Singapore. Singapore has a freeport and an art fair, but HK has more artists, dealers, curators, and collectors coming through it. It also has major players holding big events, such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Art Basel. When the M+ museum opens in the West Kowloon cultural district in 2019, the status of HK will likely be affirmed.
Which artists do you personally admire?
Two artists who I find fascinating to observe are: Takashi Murakami, who is the protagonist of Chapter 6 in Seven Days in the Art World, and Ai Weiwei, who is a recurring character in 33 Artists in 3 Acts. They are spectacular risk takers. They have made both masterpieces and some less thoughtful work. They experiment and they continue to break the mold of what artists are expected to be.
We are sure you get asked this a lot, but what do you think is the one common denominator among the art world’s brightest superstars?