Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Pg. 99: Elizabeth Currid's "The Warhol Economy"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Elizabeth Currid's The Warhol Economy: How Fashion, Art, and Music Drive New York City.

About the book, from the publisher:

Which is more important to New York City's economy, the gleaming corporate office -- or the grungy rock club that launches the best new bands? If you said "office," think again. In The Warhol Economy, Elizabeth Currid argues that creative industries like fashion, art, and music drive the economy of New York as much as -- if not more than -- finance, real estate, and law. And these creative industries are fueled by the social life that whirls around the clubs, galleries, music venues, and fashion shows where creative people meet, network, exchange ideas, pass judgments, and set the trends that shape popular culture.

The implications of Currid's argument are far-reaching, and not just for New York. Urban policymakers, she suggests, have not only seriously underestimated the importance of the cultural economy, but they have failed to recognize that it depends on a vibrant creative social scene. They haven't understood, in other words, the social, cultural, and economic mix that Currid calls the Warhol economy.

With vivid first-person reporting about New York's creative scene, Currid takes the reader into the city spaces where the social and economic lives of creativity merge. The book has fascinating original interviews with many of New York's important creative figures, including fashion designers Zac Posen and Diane von Furstenberg, artists Ryan McGinness and Futura, and members of the band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

The economics of art and culture in New York and other cities has been greatly misunderstood and underrated. The Warhol Economy explains how the cultural economy works-and why it is vital to all great cities.

Among the praise for the book:

"Elizabeth Currid's hip trip through New York's production of creative culture is a tour de force."
--Quincy Jones, producer

"I've uttered the words 'It just kind of happened' with a shrug hundreds of times when asked about the quick success of my band. Elizabeth Currid blows that lazy response to smithereens by showing the work behind 'word of mouth.' I think I'll have a better answer now."
--Lee Sargent, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

"The old economy made deals over golf games and three-martini lunches. Creative New York organizes its networks around art openings, fashion shows, and nightlife. But these networks are a lot more than fun and games. They are deeply important to how new innovations are produced, how cities work to sustain creativity and turn it into commercial value. Cities drive our economies; creativity drives our cities. With her keen eye, sharp analysis, and detailed fieldwork, Elizabeth Currid shows us why and how. In The Warhol Economy, she has unlocked the best-kept secrets in New York."
--Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class

"Elizabeth Currid's The Warhol Economy raises distinctive policy implications: namely, cities will get bigger payoffs by supporting milieu rather than museum. Laws that hurt the clubs are almost as bad as the rising rents that price-out the artists. Tax breaks to corporations make no sense whatever. Currid is more than plausible on all these issues."
--Harvey Molotch, New York University

Read an excerpt from The Warhol Economy and learn more about the book at the Princeton University Press website.

Elizabeth Currid is an assistant professor at University of Southern California's School of Policy, Planning and Development.

The Page 99 Test: The Warhol Economy.

--Marshal Zeringue