The Museum of Modern Love

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Arky Levin is struggling. His work as a film-score composer is lackluster, his unwell wife has cut off contact, and he regrets his distant relationship with his daughter. Unexpectedly, he finds solace at the Museum of Modern Art, where the performance artist Marina Abramovic has embarked on a seventy-five-day event where audience members wait in line–sometimes overnight—for the chance to silently gaze at her across a table. Arky is riveted, compelled for reasons he can’t articulate. Somehow, his daily pilgrimage to the MoMA is the thing he’s been waiting for, and his life slowly begins taking on new shape.

Arky isn’t the only character moved by Abramovic’s performance, its impact on a web of others gives rise to the beauty and heft of this novel. Of course, Marina Abramovic is an actual artist, and the exhibition called The Artist Is Present was staged at MoMA in 2010. Truly emotional moments were experienced and witnessed during the real-life engagement, and though no words are exchanged between artist and spectator in the novel, much is communicated on the page—a truly startling achievement. Heather Rose mines silent encounters for a story and strikes gold, weaving an ambitious and moving fiction that pays homage to this artist specifically and to art generally—its power to lift, to answer, to console, to inspire.


Reviewed By:

Author Heather Rose
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 288 pages
Publisher Algonquin Books
Publish Date 2018-Nov-27
ISBN 9781616208523
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue January 2019
Category Modern Literature
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1 review for The Museum of Modern Love

  1. Dawn Smithton

    I loved this novel. I wasn’t sure I would – having no interest in performance art prior to this, but it came highly recommended. Well, it’s the best novel I’ve read in years. It has wonderful characters and it’s so well written. A sort of breathtaking achievement as Rose weaves lives and emotions and insights into a gorgeous tapestry that is moving and magical. I found myself powerfully affected. I wept at the end. It’s made me think about art in a whole new way. And possibly life. In fact, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. Highly recommended.

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