True Colors: The Real Life of the Art World

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The Colors covers the past three decades of the American art scene, a period during which the prevailing artistic fashion has shifted as often as the focus of the Whitney Biennial, when art and money, talent and celebrity have often been confused. During this period, figures such as Julian Schnabel, Jeff Koons, and Keith Haring have crossed over from the rarefied world of high art into popular culture, and art dealers, like Hollywood power agents, have often claimed as much attention as those they represented. Anthony Haden-Guest has moved within this world, known the players, and delivers here an authoritative and deliciously inside account.

Focusing on the lives and personalities of the art world's main players, and with a sure critical component, Haden-Guest gives us vivid portraits of the period's key artists as they strive to fulfill their ambitions. He does justice as well to the machinations of those who have come to control the larger drama — the dealers, collectors, and museum curators. Filled with incredible anecdotes, dramatically told stories, and subtle critical assessments, True Colors tells the story of the art world that we have never heard before.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; First Paperback Edition edition (September 2, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871137259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871137258
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

Customer Reviews

A great primer for those who want to know the history of the contemporary art scene

 on February 4, 2016
By C. E. Allen
The author has written about the art world for years and this covers the beginning of the contemporary art scene until the mid 90’s. Many of the people he writes about weren’t well known then but are now. Can’t wait till he publishes the second part from 1994 to 2014.

Yet another well written and highly informative book

 on October 16, 2011
By dan
Yet another well written and highly informative book, essential reading for artists who are serious about understanding the market their trying to reach, the art dealers and galleries.

An art movement that makes you wonder

3 people found this helpful.
 on July 8, 2010
By Dave Kuhlman
What it’s about — The world of contemporary art in New York, NY,

a must for all interested in the contemporary arts scene

16 people found this helpful.
 on December 7, 1998
This is the first book that ties together the art movements from the last three decades with the happenings in the art market, which in turn shaped part of the movements. Anthony Haden-Guest was and is part of this world himself, so you’re getting a first person account, not merely a list of events accumulated by a researcher. Haden-Guest very nicely places all the major happenings and people in a row and relates them to eachother. Entertainingly written too! Even if you already know all about who was who in the artworld, this is still a fun read.

nicely done

12 people found this helpful.
 on July 24, 2000
By Amazon Customer
An engaging overview of the N.Y. art scene. Especially nice is how Haden-Guest uses gossip and fact to give an entertaining explanation to the rise of such 80s figures as Jeff Koons. I especially enjoyed his chapter on Donald Judd and other chapters on early Conceptualists and how that genre has morped over the past 3 decades. These are not hard core critical essays! But that is not what I was looking for. Recommended to the casual art fan like myself.


2 people found this helpful.
 on September 18, 2008
By M. Brown
This is a book to inhale and savor, evocative of the 70s-80s-90s Art World Times, full of insight and things-around-the-corner. Gives good background understanding to the subsequent Wasteland in the art scene, and more recent developments.

True Colors:The Real Life of the Art World

3 people found this helpful.
 on September 19, 2005
By Steven B. Mendes
This book really has provided me the insight into collecting that I had always wanted to see. It was a fantastic,important and redefining period for art and collecting. Tremendously well done.

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