Alison Gerber’s new book – The Work of Art

In The Work of Art, Alison Gerber investigates who artists are (and who they’re not), why they do the things they do, and whether a sense of vocational calling and the need to make a living are as incompatible as we’re often led to believe. Listening to the stories of artists from across the United States, Gerber finds patterns of agreements and disagreements shared by art-makers from all walks of life.

For professionals and hobbyists alike, the alliance of love and money has become central to contemporary art-making, and danger awaits those who fail to strike a balance between the two.

The stories artists tell are just as much a part of artistic practice as putting brush to canvas or chisel to marble. By explaining the shared ways that artists account for their activities – the analogies they draw, the arguments they make – Gerber reveals the common bases of value artists point to when they say: what I do is worth doing.

The Work*of Art asks how we make sense of the things we do and shows why this talk about value matters so much.

Alison Gerber is a researcher in the Department of Sociology at Uppsala University ‘in Sweden and writes about the intersection of culture and public life, from tax* audits to noise music


“The Work of Art offers an intimate investigation of the economics of earning a living making art: where the money comes from and where it goes, and how artists justify, to themselves and others, their strategies for supporting their work. Alison Gerber makes a solid contribution to sociology, to economics, and to our understanding of the practicalities of an artistic career.”
Howard S. Becker, author of Art Worlds

[Audio Cast Run Time 50 Minutes]

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