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My Love Affair with Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator
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My Love Affair with Modern Art: Behind the Scenes with a Legendary Curator

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  61 ratings  ·  11 reviews
One of America's leading curators, "a woman of resilience and vision, a writer of clarity and ardor" (Chicago Tribune), takes you on a personal tour of the world of modern art.In the Depression-era climate of the 1930s, interest in modern art was at an all-time low. But a courageous and visionary young woman-Katharine Kuh-defied the odds and opened a gallery in Chicago, wh ...more
Hardcover, 314 pages
Published January 10th 2006 by Arcade Publishing
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Leslie kuris
Loved it. Interesting stories about major artists and insights into understanding modern art movements
Emily Ferrell
*** Warning, there are spoilers in this review. ***

This book began with Katherine Kuh, at age 87, knowing that it would consume the rest of her mental energy and physical strength. Katherine knew that she may pass away before her book of memiors was finished, so she asked Avis Berman to finish. Avis had interviewed Katherine many times throught the years.

Katherine's youth was consumed by contracting polio, in Geneva, where she was diagnosed, paralyzed, and unable to walk. For the following ten y
I loved reading about Kuh's encounters and friendships with what we might term today as "midcentury modern" artists. Having wandered the halls of the Art Institute for many years, and having wondered about the artists whose works hang there, I now have my answer. Hans Hoffman was a delightful, warm, wonderful generous person. Edward Hopper and his work were both spare and deeply intertwined. Mark Rothko, whose work I have spent hours simply staring at, would have completely approved of the way I ...more
Elly Sands
I didn't have high expectations about this book so I was pleasantly pleased. Books like this can be somewhat dry but Katherine's exuberant personality kept it from being that. I enjoyed learning about the distinct personalities of the artists she mentioned. I have always loved Mark Rothko's work but I don't think I'd care for the man. Hans Hoffman's work is wonderful and I know I would have enjoyed his company. Although I admire Edward Hopper's art the man would drive me crazy with his stiffness ...more
John Seed
I enjoyed reading Katharine Kuh's insightful recollections of a diverse selection of modern artists. Some of them -- Mark Tobey, and Alfred Jensen -- were relatively new to me, while others such as Mark Rothko and Edward Hopper have been written about by others. Kuh was a pioneer, and her book is valuable for anyone wanting to understand the difficulties faced by modern artists in the 30s, 40s and 50s. Intelligently written, and bit old-fashioned, but in a good way.
Jun 12, 2009 Sarah marked it as to-read
For the Art Institute book club. Their description:
This memoir by the Art Institute's first curator of modern painting and sculpture offers a behind-the-scenes peek of the art world. Perfect if you like: biographies, local history, or gossip columns.

I like both local history and gossip. Sign me up!

Discussion guide (in PDF) is here:
After touring the Art Inst's new modern wing, I'm determined to learn more about modern art. Katherine Kuh, an early devotee of modern art, led a fascinating life while championing artists and their works. She can drop in a story about her evening with Mies van der Rohe or any of a dozen famous artists without batting an eye.This book was covered in the Between the Lions book club offered at the Art Inst.
Katharine Kuh's memoir, completed by Avis Berman, is interesting because of Kuh's interactions and relationships with modern artists in the 1940s and 50s. However, it could have been better written, and it could have been more tightly structured and less repetitive (too much focus on Mark Rothko when other artists were purportedly the subject).
I found this book quite dull and skipped a few chapters because they weren't holding my interest. I didn't feel like she offered much insight on the work and her interactions with the artists were not that intriguing either. I was definitely disappointed.
This book tells the story of the aquisition of the Modern Art collection at the Art Institute of Chicago. Good inside information on art world legends. ... its like old school, art gossip told through the eyes of a very respectable, legendary curator.
loved it...
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