Get the Picture: A Mind-Bending Journey among the Inspired Artists and Obsessive Art Fiends Who Taught Me How to See (Hardcover)
On Our Shelves Now
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“Get the Picture is one of the funniest books I’ve read . . . Brilliant.” —The Washington Post
“A gripping and often hilarious investigation into the art world. . . . Bosker goes full Tom Wolfe.” —TIME
“Funny, whip-smart, and gorgeously written, Get the Picture will forever transform the way you see. . . . I loved every word.” —Suleika Jaouad, New York Times bestselling author of Between Two Kingdoms
The New York Times bestselling author of Cork Dork takes readers on another fascinating, hilarious, and revelatory journey—this time burrowing deep inside the secretive world of art and artists
An award-winning journalist obsessed with obsession, Bianca Bosker’s existence was upended when she wandered into the art world—and couldn’t look away. Intrigued by artists who hyperventilate around their favorite colors and art fiends who max out credit cards to show hunks of metal they think can change the world, Bosker grew fixated on understanding why art matters and how she—or any of us—could engage with it more deeply.
In Get the Picture, Bosker throws herself into the nerve center of art and the people who live for it: gallerists, collectors, curators, and, of course, artists themselves—the kind who work multiple jobs to afford their studios while scrabbling to get eyes on their art. As she stretches canvases until her fingers blister, talks her way into A-list parties full of billionaire collectors, has her face sat on by a nearly-naked performance artist, and forces herself to stare at a single sculpture for hours on end while working as a museum security guard, she discovers not only the inner workings of the art-canonization machine but also a more expansive way of living.
Probing everything from cave paintings to Instagram, and from the science of sight to the importance of beauty as it examines art’s role in our culture, our economy, and our hearts, Get the Picture is a rollicking adventure that will change the way you see forever.
About the Author
Bianca Bosker is the New York Times bestselling author of Cork Dork and a contributing writer at The Atlantic. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Best American Travel Writing, and been recognized with awards from the New York Press Club, Society of Professional Journalists, and more.
Praise for Get the Picture:
“[Bosker] has written a dark comedy of manners, and what she exposes here might be a new kind of country club mentality, where the cultural elite can no longer exclude people based on race, gender or sexual identity, so they come up with clever new ways to build moats around their little castles. . . . Get the Picture is one of the funniest books I’ve read about New York’s contemporary art scene . . . Brilliant.” —The Washington Post
“A gripping and often hilarious investigation into the art world.” —TIME
“[A] plucky and hilarious account of years working as a gallery girl, studio assistant, and guard at the Guggenheim museum . . . [Bosker] doesn’t sit with and sift through her material so much as plunge headlong into it, gatecrashing cloistered ecosystems that want nothing to do with her, and emerging as a foremost expert.” —The Guardian
“It’s a passionate, brilliant examination of why humans make and value art, from a joyous and gifted investigator.” —Lit Hub
“Connoisseurs and neophytes alike will be charmed and captivated by Bosker’s boundless curiosity and astute powers of observation.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[Get the Picture] could not be more fun. A delightful book on an inspiring topic by a writer who could make dust sparkle.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“Curious but not naïve, gossipy but generous, critical but admiring, hilarious but profound . . . This book is sheer pleasure.” —Benjamin Moser, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Sontag, and The Upside-Down World: Meetings with the Dutch Masters
“Get The Picture investigates the questions you’re too chicken to ask: ‘Um, how come this is called art and how come I’m supposed to like it, or is it fakery and what is art anyway?’ Bosker’s answers are fascinating and her writing is so compelling and funny that I am jealous.” —Patricia Marx, author of You Can Only Yell At Me For One Thing at a Time
“Funny, whip-smart, and gorgeously written, Get the Picture will forever transform the way you see. In this engrossing book, Bianca Bosker crashes that most gate-kept of worlds, contemporary art. . . . Equally edifying for art lovers and novices, Get the Picture will send you into a torrid love affair with shape, texture, and color. I loved every word.” —Suleika Jaouad, author of Between Two Kingdoms
“This book freaked me out. Bosker’s accessible, conversational spelunking into the world of contemporary art so powerfully rehydrated the PTSD in me between the little kid artist I once was with the self-consciously constricted thinker I became in art school that at one point I simply had to put it down, shaken. If you’ve ever wondered 'what happened' to art—galleries, critics, collectors—and, of course, artists—then this book is a very companionable start. It’s also very funny, to say nothing of very vivid. And, confoundingly, very, very difficult to put down.” —Chris Ware, New Yorker artist/writer, author of Building Stories and Whitney Biennial selectee (2002)
“Bianca Bosker takes us on a delightful journey into the rarefied world of art. What could have been an arch sendup turns out to be a joyous, empathetic engagement with an unforgettable collection of characters and artworks. I couldn't put Get the Picture down.” —Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea and Travels with George
“Get the Picture is a brilliant adventure through the fraught, frenzied, fanatical world of art and emerging artists. Bosker flings us into the epicenter of creativity and obsession, and with infectious curiosity, illuminates the surprising science, history, and controversies at the core of our relationship with art. An extraordinary book.” —Kirk Wallace Johnson, author of The Feather Thief
“How to understand the art world? Bring questions and ideas then insinuate yourself—find ways to belong in the gallery, in the studio, at the fair. Bianca Bosker confesses her ignorance to experts, refuses to look down on schmos, and then gracefully (and often, hilariously) curates her own experience. I would buy a painting from this author, even if she weren’t selling it as research; and I highly recommend this book.” —Ted Conover, author of Newjack and Cheap Land Colorado
“Fascinating for contemporary art lovers and skeptics alike. At the heart of Bianca Bosker’s intelligent book is the author’s burning curiosity, and it’s contagious.” —Patrick Bringley, author of All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me