Change is no stranger to us in the twenty-first century. We must constantly adjust to an evolving world, to transformation and innovation. But for many thousands of creative artists, a torrent of recent changes has made it all but impossible to earn a living. Read more...
Change is no stranger to us in the twenty-first century. We must constantly adjust to an evolving world, to transformation and innovation. But for many thousands of creative artists, a torrent of recent changes has made it all but impossible to earn a living. A persistent economic recession, social shifts, and technological change have combined to put our artists--from graphic designers to indie-rock musicians, from architects to booksellers--out of work. This important book looks deeply and broadly into the roots of the crisis of the creative class in America and tells us why it matters.
Scott Timberg considers the human cost as well as the unintended consequences of shuttered record stores, decimated newspapers, music piracy, and a general attitude of indifference. He identifies social tensions and contradictions--most concerning the artist's place in society--that have plunged the creative class into a fight for survival. Timberg shows how America's now-collapsing middlebrow culture--a culture once derided by intellectuals like Dwight Macdonald--appears, from today's vantage point, to have been at least a Silver Age. Timberg's reporting is essential reading for anyone who works in the world of culture, knows someone who does, or cares about the work creative artists produce.
- ISBN-13: 9780300195880
- ISBN-10: 0300195885
- Publisher: Yale University Press
- Publish Date: January 2015
- Page Count: 320
- Dimensions: 9.2 x 5 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-11-10
- Reviewer: Staff
In this collection of essays based on articles that originally appeared in Salon, Timberg laments the loss of an industry that afforded graphic artists, roadies, editors, cartoonists, and journalists a middle-class life. The book ambitiously tackles the waning of many forms of “culture,” including indie rock, architecture, and book publishing. Inevitably culture was better in “the past,” and Timberg takes readers back to the days when poetry had a huge audience and Los Angeles had a vibrant art scene. He furthers his argument for the decline of the creative middle class by contrasting the success of mega-hit music producer Dr. Luke with contemporary struggling poet and musician Chris Stroffolino. He argues that the U.S. has become a “winner-take-all” society that forces the creative class into a culture where only blockbusters succeed. Timberg cites the disappearance of clerks at physical record and book stores as a greater loss for the whole culture. Ultimately, Timberg is long on complaints but short on solutions, and he consistently overlooks or dismisses “digital technology” in the process. The book successfully documents the lost economic opportunities of an artistic society, but offers only vague suggestions for improving the lot of workers in the arts. Agent: David Patterson, Foundry Literary + Media. (Jan.)