A People's History Of Art?
July 6, 2017 9:49 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a Western Art History overview that is primarily focused on labor: who is making the art, how are they making it, who gets paid and why. History of guilds, craftsmen strikes, a history of people usually ignored in art history narratives and the salon system all welcome topics. I'm not interested in anything heavily before 1300 or after 1930.

Not necessary but if it could also include a history of worker's causes interacting with broader art history that would also be great. An example would be how the Second Empire era French salon system rejected any realistic depiction of labor or poverty, favoring sentimental prettiness.
posted by The Whelk to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Jacques Ranciere's Proletarian Nights: The Worker's Dream in Nineteenth-Century France might interest you. Though it's far more specific (to time and place) than the kind of overview you're looking for, JR's methodology and his theoretical speculations are more broadly suggestive.

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posted by sophieblue at 11:50 AM on July 6, 2017

More sociology than art history, but if you haven't read Becker's Art Worlds then take a look. He examines art as a result of collective action.
posted by Pineapplicious at 12:06 PM on July 6, 2017

The Object of Labor: Art, Cloth, and Cultural Production.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 6:37 PM on July 6, 2017

The Renaissance Artist at Work is a classic.
posted by mortaddams at 10:37 AM on July 7, 2017

Arnold Hauser's Social History of Art is another landmark. It is available on archive.org.
posted by mortaddams at 10:46 AM on July 7, 2017

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