This provocative and entertaining book examines how certain artists, from Salvador Dali to Damien Hirst, have wholeheartedly embraced both the cult of celebrity and the commercial cut and thrust of the art market. It poses the question: which came first, the global media or this new breed of artist? Would a figure like Andy Warhol have risen to a pre-eminent position in daily life in the latter half of the 20th century without a celebrity-hungry media reporting on his actions? The book examines those who have engaged directly with trading their own wares, including Keith Haring selling his pictures in his Pop Shop, Takashi Murakami licensing his designs to big business, and Hirst auctioning his own works at Sotheby's. They are joined by those who have taken an active role in manufacturing their own public personae, including Gilbert & George, Martin Kippenberger and Tracey Emin. Jeff Koons' celebration in painting and sculpture of his marriage and sexual union with porn star and latter-day politician Illona Staller (aka La Cicciolina) is just one example of an artist crossing the usually accepted boundaries between the public and the personal, revelling in and manipulating the response of the media to their own actions. Other artists examined in the book have adopted different strategies, including working under assumed identities, appropriating the visual culture of ethnic groups to which they don't belong or adopting the identities of prostitutes, stalkers or avid fans. All play their part in this fascinating and extensively illustrated book that accompanies a major exhibition at Tate Modern.
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