The Museum of Modern Love – Heather Rose

The Museum

“…’If this was a dream, then he wanted to know when it would end. Maybe it would end if he went to see Lydia. But it was the one thing he was not allowed to do.’

Arky Levin is a film composer in New York separated from his wife, who has asked him to keep one devastating promise. One day he finds his way to The Atrium at MOMA and sees Marina Abramovic in The Artist is Present. The performance continues for seventy-five days and, as it unfolds, so does Arky. As he watches and meets other people drawn to the exhibit, he slowly starts to understand what might be missing in his life and what he must do.”

Winner of the 2017 Stella Prize, the central premise of this narrative is unique – the non-linear perspectives of multiple characters who are linked by their experiences with the 2010 MoMA performance, The Artist is Present by artist Marina Abramović. Fascinatingly, Rose has used fictional characters, and a fictionalised version of Abramović’s internal monologue, to explore an incredible, challenging and inspirational real life work of art. To be quite frank I found this a very slow burn, a meditation on love and art that raised very worthy questions about both, but with whose characters I found little resonance. The most compelling aspect of the book was the exploration of the Abramović’s artwork as opposed to the narrative arc. I soldiered through to the end though and even kept reading the extras at the end and continued to research Abramović long after I put the novel down. Let’s go:
3stars
M

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