The Work of Art: How Something Comes from Nothing (Hardcover)

The Work of Art: How Something Comes from Nothing By Adam Moss Cover Image
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“The book is a visual feast, full of drafts, sketches, and scribbled notebook pages. Every page shows how an idea becomes a finished design.” —Ari Shapiro, All Things Considered

From former editor of New York magazine Adam Moss, a collection of illuminating conversations examining the very personal, rigorous, complex, and elusive work of making art

What is the work of art? In this guided tour inside the artist’s head, Adam Moss traces the evolution of transcendent novels, paintings, jokes, movies, songs, and more. Weaving conversations with some of the most accomplished artists of our time together with the journal entries, napkin doodles, and sketches that were their tools, Moss breaks down the work—the tortuous paths and artistic decisions—that led to great art. From first glimmers to second thoughts, roads not taken, crises, breakthroughs, on to one triumphant finish after another.

Featuring: Kara Walker, Tony Kushner, Roz Chast, Michael Cunningham, Moses Sumney, Sofia Coppola, Stephen Sondheim, Susan Meiselas, Louise Glück, Maria de Los Angeles, Nico Muhly, Thomas Bartlett, Twyla Tharp, John Derian, Barbara Kruger, David Mandel, Gregory Crewdson, Marie Howe, Gay Talese, Cheryl Pope, Samin Nosrat, Joanna Quinn & Les Mills, Wesley Morris, Amy Sillman, Andrew Jarecki, Rostam, Ira Glass, Simphiwe Ndzube, Dean Baquet & Tom Bodkin, Max Porter, Elizabeth Diller, Ian Adelman / Calvin Seibert, Tyler Hobbs, Marc Jacobs, Grady West (Dina Martina), Will Shortz, Sheila Heti, Gerald Lovell, Jody Williams & Rita Sodi, Taylor Mac & Machine Dazzle, David Simon, George Saunders, Suzan-Lori Parks

About the Author

Adam Moss was the editor of New York magazine, The New York Times Magazine, and 7 Days. As editor of New York, he also oversaw the creation of five digital magazines: Vulture, The Cut, Daily Intelligencer, Grub Street, and The Strategist. During his tenure, New York won forty-one National Magazine Awards, including Magazine of the Year. He was an assistant managing editor of The New York Times with oversight of the Magazine, the Book Review, and the Culture, and Style sections, as well as managing editor of Esquire. He was elected to the Magazine Editors’ Hall of Fame in 2019.

Praise For…

“In The Work of Art, famed creators from the worlds of film, fashion, theater and more explore the hidden alchemy of their craft . . . Excellent layouts by the design firm Pentagram turn dense arrays of project ephemera into legible timelines . . . [Moss] has fresh things to say with his remit. Employing an à la carte Freudianism, he suggests that receptiveness to chance guides art as much as skill . . . By giving cookbooks, crossword puzzles and newspaper design equal documentation, Moss seems to level all created commodities . . . [a] vibrant, companionable and punchily precise dossier.” —Walker Mimms, The New York Times

The Work of Art is a case study in creativity featuring preeminent artists of our time.”Vanity Fair

"The Work of Art is Moss at his most curious and engaging... Seductive, enthralling and a joy to read." Air Mail
“This book is—and I really want people to hear it: It's a piece of art.” —Ezra Klein, The Ezra Klein Show

“Gorgeously illustrated . . . Fabulous insights into the artist’s work.” —NBC, "Today in New York"
“Very much a museum, the book shows how ideas can be taken from seed to fruition, a skill Moss honed as the editor of New York magazine. Readers will linger in these galleries as they consider the ideas of more than 40 creatives working in art forms that include sculpting, painting, cooking, writing, and even building sandcastles. The artists represented here are an extraordinary group, with such luminaries as Louise Glück, Kara Walker, Stephen Sondheim, and Ira Glass. Visitors to Moss's museum will delight in its visual styling, with every detail—font, layout, design, color—governed by a spare but finely appointed aesthetic. The artifacts that accompany each section prove fascinating . . . Moss strikes the perfect balance with his tone: breezy and conversational but driven by intellectual curiosity . . . Throughout The Work of Art, Moss chases the origin and evolution of creativity, a lofty but highly practical goal, especially to emerging creatives looking for inspiration. He may not solve that elusive puzzle, but readers will love the treasure trove of wisdom he uncovers.” —Shelf Awareness

“A panoply of artists offer a rare peek into the mysteries and mundanities of the creative process in this captivating compendium . . . Moss concludes on a fascinating note, musing that while ‘artists don’t have more interesting dreams than the rest of us,’ they do possess ‘an unusual ability to cross over—to get entrance to that inarticulable place, and then to capture what they can make use of.’ It’s a must-read for creatives of all stripes.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“In this handsome book, [Adam Moss] interviews more than 40 creators in all disciplines who ‘walk me through, in as much detail as they could muster, the evolution of a novel, a painting, a photograph, a movie, a joke, a song, and to supply physical documentation of their process.’ Many of the creators are well known, including Stephen Sondheim, Louise Glück, Twyla Tharp, and George Saunders . . . The book is amply illustrated, with sketches for dress designs, notes on animation, preliminary concepts for buildings, doodled ideas on coffee-stained napkins, and more . . . this is an inspiring work, especially for anyone struggling to create art and wondering whether the slogs and endless false starts are worth the effort. An encouraging book dedicated to the pleasures and agonies of making art.” Kirkus Reviews

The Work of Art by Adam Moss is a handsome, strikingly designed, color-glossy book of interviews with all manner of artists . . . Moss’s voice is distinct—​sympathetic, appreciative, confessional, generous, curious, humorous—​as he compares the anguish and achievements of others with his own continuing struggles to be a painter . . . The book is clearly a work of love . . . ” —WSHU Public Radio

“[A] revelatory window on the creative process at the crossing point of the mystical and the methodical through conversations with and reflections by some of the most beloved artists of our time—poets, painters, novelists, musicians, filmmakers, playwrights, architects, chefs—each centered on how a particular work came to be . . . The Work of Art is a magnificent read in its entirety, lush with ephemera from the understory of creativity—discarded drafts, handwritten journal pages, preliminary sketches and prototypes, notes from the subconscious scribbled in the middle of the night.” —Maria Popova, The Marginalian

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593297582
ISBN-10: 059329758X
Publisher: Penguin Press
Publication Date: April 16th, 2024
Pages: 432
Language: English