Cyprus Mail
EntertainmentFilm, TV & Book Reviews

Book review: Get The Picture by Bianca Bosker

book new

By Simon Demetriou

Why does art matter?

“If you don’t know about object-oriented ontology, I’m not sure you can have a conversation about contemporary art,” says one gallerist early on in Bianca Bosker’s account of her immersion in the New York art world. Well, that rules me out. And, I suspect, many of you (no offence to any object-oriented-ontologists who may be reading). It would also have ruled out Bianca Bosker, but fortunately for us, she ploughed on regardless in her obsessive quest to answer the question of ‘why art matters, if it does’. It’s fortunate not just because Get The Picture is such a joy to read, but because in a time of such overwhelming STEM-centrism in society as a whole and education in particular, answering questions like this becomes imperative.

But let’s start with the absurd. Bosker’s first dabblings as an art-world interloper and tentative gallery assistant come with an onslaught of wittily observed pretentions and idiocies. Not only are ludicrous barriers erected between her and viable participation by statements like the one opening the review, but Bosker is also threatened with reputational disgrace; impeded by her natural enthusiasm in a world where ‘no self-respecting art connoisseur discussed art without lowering their voice to the affectless murmur of a funeral director welcoming the bereaved’; baffled by international art English in which ‘the trick is to sound like a French academic whose opinions have been mangled by a ham-fisted translation job’; and told repeatedly that being a journalist makes her ‘the enemy’.

While the art world might be insane, it is also painted as home to people who exemplify a kind of martyric self-sacrifice that prompt Bosker to delve into the issue of why ‘before Neanderthals went extinct, before mammoths died out, before we figured out how to harvest food or heal bloody wounds, humans applied themselves to painting the portrait of a warty pig’. Artists and, eventually, works of art themselves, are presented with a tenderness and awe that become justified as Bosker talks us through what she learns from neuroscience, physics and psychology, as well as from a stint working as a guard at the Guggenheim, during which she did nothing but gaze at individual art works for extended periods of time.

The result: a belief that spending time with art, as viewer or creator, can – if done right – lead to a reshaping of one’s reality, a reminder that said reality is illusory, and the ability ‘to literally live more in the same amount of time’ and create ‘a life worth appreciating’. Get The Picture matters because art matters. Enjoy – and appreciate – both.

Follow the Cyprus Mail on Google News

Related Posts

What’s on this weekend

Eleni Philippou

Two Fork Food Markets whet the appetite

Eleni Philippou

Student art exhibition at Gallery Morfi

Eleni Philippou

Prickly Paradise: succulents everywhere

Eleni Philippou

Restaurant review: Duomo, Paphos

Sarah Coyne

Cyprus participates in Fashion Revolution Week

Eleni Philippou