The Art of Not Making

The Art of Not Making

The New Artist / Artisan Relationship

  1. Michael Petry
  • ISBN 9780500290262
  • 27.50 x 23.00 cm
  • Paperback with flaps
  • 208pp
  • 324 Illustrations, 318 in colour
  • First published 2012
‘Glorious ’ – Harper’s Bazaar
‘Gorgeous to look at … Petry so obviously knows his stuff’ – Art Quarterly
‘The arguments presented in this glossy, erudite book are bold, intriguing … beautiful’ – Gay Times

Here is a fresh, controversial and enlightening approach to many of the most influential artworks of our time.

The Art of Not Making sample spread

Can an artist claim that an object is a work of art if it has been made for him or her by someone else? If so, who is the ‘author’ of such a work? And just what is the difference between a work of art and a work of craft?

The Art of Not Making tackles these questions head on, exploring the concepts of authorship, artistic originality, skill, craftsmanship and the creative act, and highlighting the vital role that skills from craft and industrial production play in the creation of some of today’s most innovative and sought-after works of art.

Michael Petry presents the art of over 115 contemporary artists – including Takashi Murakami, Matthew Barney, Tony Cragg, Cornelia Parker, Grayson Perry, Ai Weiwei, Daniel Buren and Carsten Höller – all of whom have one thing in common: they do not always make their own work. Instead, they often either employ others to produce it on their behalf, or appropriate objects made by someone else. Original interviews with the artists and artisans offer insights into this creative collaboration, which often produces works breathtaking in their scope and ambition.

Michael Petry is an American artist, curator and author. He is a guest lecturer at the Royal Academy of Arts, where he is Curator of the Royal Academy Schools Gallery, and is the Director of MOCA London. His books include Installation Art and Installation Art in the New Millennium, both published by Thames & Hudson. In 2010 he became the first artist in residence at Sir John Soane’s Museum, London.