SarahThornton

Praise for Tits Up

“An excellent new book... Thornton succeeds in offering an appreciation of the oft-derided, oft-maligned organ… Owners and admirers will not look at breasts in the same way again.”
The Economist

Thornton’s ”impassioned polemic makes a convincing case that the derogatory way Western culture views tits... helps perpetuate the patriarchy.”
New York Times Book Review

“Required reading that expertly covers the ways in which social constructions, sexualization, and economic viability influence people's views of bodies, their own and others.”
Library Journal (starred review)

Thornton has a “sociologist's eye, a reporter's nose, and a Double D brain.”
Mary Roach, bestselling author

Biography

Sarah Thornton is a sociologist who writes about art, design and people. She is the author of four critically acclaimed books. A Canadian who went to the UK on a Commonwealth Scholarship, Thornton was once hailed as “Britain’s hippest academic.” Now based in San Francisco, Thornton is better known as “the Jane Goodall of the art world.”

Thornton’s latest book Tits Up explores the universal truths of mammary glands alongside their specific meanings and uses in different real-world locations – a strip club, a human milk bank, a plastic surgeon’s operating room, a bra design studio, and a neo-pagan spiritual feminist retreat. Thornton laments that most American women dismiss their breasts as dumb boobs. As emblems of femininity, the status of this body part has an impact on women’s social standing and political power. As long as boobs are disparaged as shameful and stupid, women will remain the “second sex.”

Thornton’s international bestseller is Seven Days in the Art World (2008). Its witty non-fiction narratives reveal the inner workings of the institutions that contribute to an artist’s place in art history. Explaining the insider nuances of everything from auctions and art fairs through art prizes and curated biennials to “crits” and studio set ups, Seven Days has become the key primer for anyone interested in contemporary art. Named one of the best art books of the year by the New York Times, Seven Days in the Art World is available in 22 languages.

Its sequel 33 Artists in 3 Acts (2014) zeros in on artists. Slipping behind the scenes, it investigates how artists maintain their creativity, command belief in their work, and play the art-world game. Divided into three acts titled “Politics,” “Kinship” and “Craft,” the book is both anthropological and art historical. It is based on privileged access to – and “participant observation” with – internationally recognized artists like Ai Weiwei, Maurizio Cattelan, Cindy Sherman, Yayoi Kusama and Rashid Johnson.

Thornton’s first book Club Cultures: Music, Media and Subcultural Capital is based on her PhD thesis, which investigated the hierarchies of “coolness” through a study of the British dance scene from record hops to raves. Combining the insights of her undergraduate degree in Art History with those of “Chicago School” sociologists such as Howard Becker and French scholars like Pierre Bourdieu, this book marked the beginning of Thornton’s longstanding obsession with the body and issues of cultural value.

After running the MA program in Media Studies at Sussex University (UK) and co-editing the first edition of The Subcultures Reader, Thornton transformed her knowledge of youth subcultures into an expertise in mercurial niche markets and took a job as a brand planner at Grey Global, a multinational advertising agency. A skilled interviewer and engaging public speaker, Thornton has given hundreds of talks around the world. She has contributed to NPR, Netflix, ZDF, and BBC radio and TV.

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China
Dutch
Latvia
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Thornton is represented by The Wylie Agency:
mail [at] wylieagency [dot] com