The Work of Art: How Something Comes from Nothing

In the acknowledgements for The Work of Art: How Something Comes from Nothing, Adam Moss explains his early vision for the book as an "interactive museum of creativity, with exhibits and wall text and talk wafting through its corridors." 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 sand castles. 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. Some are saturated, like prints from photographer Gregory Crewdson, while others are plain but chaotic, like the idea sketches offered by cartoonist Roz Chast.

Moss strikes the perfect balance with his tone: breezy and conversational but driven by intellectual curiosity. And while there is plenty here about talent and genius and faith and flow, what it comes down to is this: "No meaning, no magic, just the work of it: The work of art." 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. --Sara Beth West, freelance reviewer and librarian

Powered by: Xtenit