Get the Picture: A Mind-Bending Journey among the Inspired Artists and Obsessive Art Fiends Who Taught Me How to See (Hardcover)

Get the Picture: A Mind-Bending Journey among the Inspired Artists and Obsessive Art Fiends Who Taught Me How to See By Bianca Bosker Cover Image
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“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…

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

“Through her funny and fascinating experiences, [Bosker] does the seemingly impossible: sheds light on a strange world of beautiful things and the sometimes-ugly business around them.” Town & Country, "Best Books of 2024 . . . So Far"

“A more grassroots perspective on the market’s machinations comes courtesy of another skilled journalist, Bianca Bosker, in Get the Picture, a page-turning romp around New York’s art world. Her quest, to determine what separates ‘good’ from ‘bad’ art, prompts her to find junior roles at art galleries, then with the artist Julie Curtiss and for the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, all while recording her findings. These reveal many of the baffling codes around intangible value, served up through genuine laugh-out-loud moments.” Financial Times

“Darkly funny . . . a gonzo-style industry takedown.” —The Times of London

“It’s a passionate, brilliant examination of why humans make and value art, from a joyous and gifted investigator.” —Lit Hub

“Bosker’s enthusiasm, her curiosity and tenacity are infectious.” —The Spectator

“An entertaining behind-the-scenes chronicle of art.” Artnet

“A page-turner.” Portland Monthly

“Informative and humorous.” —Pasatiempo

“Mesmerizing . . . Get the Picture is one of the funniest books I’ve read about New York’s contemporary art scene.” The Spokesman Review

“[Bosker] has an energetic and engaging style, a sharp eye for details, and a rousing sense of humor . . . [Get the Picture] truly changed how I look at art.” Psychology Today

“A hilarious exposé about the art industry . . . The most scintillating aspect of the book is Bosker herself — the narrator, the why-person, the self-acknowledged philistine and, most importantly, the reader’s friend. Instead of lecturing from an authoritative vantage point, Bosker lets readers witness at eye level her growing clarity of art’s function. She’s also witty, self-deprecating and isn’t afraid to call out snobbery.” ScienceNews

“A captivating memoir, a fast-paced mystery, a laugh-out-loud comedy . . . Bosker’s wit dazzles, but her hands-on quest coupled with careful scholarship, is also awe-inspiring.” —Galleries West

“Exceptionally accomplished...Get the Picture is almost a Biennale in itself, a vivid spin through a kaleidoscope of confounding, maddening, surprising and sometimes enrapturing artworks.” TLS

“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: the best book I’ve ever read about contemporary art.” —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
Product Details
ISBN: 9780525562207
ISBN-10: 0525562206
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: February 6th, 2024
Pages: 384
Language: English