Do members in the art industry read more than those in other industries?
There is no avoiding an exchange or discussion of print and publication if you are an art enthusiast. Where at a museum or gallery exhibition, at a biennale or online, much of the dissemination of knowledge relating to art and the art market occurs in writing.
Perhaps this is due to the nature of the knowledge in question. Understanding artwork, especially fine art, involves understanding relatively complex theories and concepts that inform the work. This could be anything from the biography of the artist to topics in art theory, art history, semiotics, philosophy, sociology, linguistics, the sciences, medicine…the range of topics that art can tackle or address is the full range of human knowledge, intellect and existence.
It is difficult to convey this knowledge verbally and in short writing; books are the natural fit.
Or perhaps there is something else that informs this trend.
Steve Siebold, the author of ‘How Rich People Think’, has conducted research on over 1,200 of the world’s richest individuals over the last 3 decades. According to his findings, a common trait between these individuals is they consume books and literature for self-education purposes.
High-earning members of society read extensively, whereas those with lower earnings opt for entertainment in the form of tabloids, entertainment magazines and videos.
At this point I must emphasise the importance of being learned; a work of fiction can be entertaining, can be educational and enriching, can be both, or can be neither. The learning lies in being able to discern what each book qualifies as for your own goals.
Hannah Richardson wrote an article on a new cultural divide in England ‘into readers and watchers’. It provides some interesting quick statistics and observations on a growing and possibly worrying trend, one that also hints at socio-economic divides in UK society.
Many of us would be consumers of both writing and videos, both educational or otherwise.
[Shoutout to my dear friend Allyson Hitte who has read 30 books so far this year and also watched THE ENTIRE SERIES of Gilmore Girls] but chances if we had to pick a camp to identify with, the choice is more obvious today than it was in the past.
Whether or not there is a correlation in the affinity towards and acceptance for books in the art world, and the socio-economic spectrum it mostly engages, is an issue I have yet to resolve.