The Art of Not Making
The New Artist / Artisan Relationship
Thames & Hudson, London, 2011
Using examples from a wide range of media, Michael Petry presents the art of over 115 contemporary artists who have one thing in common: they do not make their own work. Instead, they either employ others to produce it on their behalf or appropriate objects made by someone else. Master craftsmen, artisans, and fabricators are just some of the technical specialists who help realize the creative vision of these artists. But when an artist does not make his or her own work, what does it mean for the nature of art and for the status of the artist? What is the relationship between creativity and production?
The book explores these and other questions about authorship, artistic originality, skill, craftsmanship, and the creative act. Beginning with an historical overview and continuing through the history of modern art, it highlights the vital role that skills from craft and industrial production play in creating some of today’s most innovative and highly sought-after works of art. Organized by the materials from which the works are made, five chapters examine the relationships between many of the world’s most important artists and the artisans and fabricators they work with. Interviews with artists and craftsmen offer further insight into their creative collaborations.