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The Museum of Modern Love

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  4,304 ratings  ·  627 reviews
A mesmerising literary novel about a lost man in search of connection - a meditation on love, art and commitment, set against the backdrop of one of the greatest art events in modern history, Marina Abramovic's The Artist is Present.

'This is a weirdly beautiful book.' David Walsh founder and curator, MONA

'Life beats down and crushes the soul, and art reminds you that you h
Paperback, 296 pages
Published September 1st 2016 by Allen & Unwin
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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,304 ratings  ·  627 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Utterly fascinating. I love art, all forms, all ideas, and whenever I encounter a piece of artwork I like, I try to envision what the artist was thinking as he created. Oftentimes will find myself reading up on the artist, trying to understand. Marina Abromovic is a controversial figure in the art world, her live art has certainly drawn attention. Her expose at the MOMA in 2010, the artist is present, Drew some of the largest crowds ever at that museum. A simple table, two chairs, Marina sitting ...more
Larry H
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars, rounded up.

Fans of 80s music, do you remember Hall & Oates' song, "Method of Modern Love"? The one that went, "M-E-T-H-O-D O-F L-O-V-E. It's the method of modern love..."? Because of a slightly similar title to this book (and nothing else), I couldn't get that song out of my head the entire time I read this! (I'm sure those of you who aren't familiar with the song are wondering what the hell I'm talking about.)

Pardon my digression.

Art fascinates me. While I tend to be a fairly lit
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Artists everywhere
Recommended to Robin by: Bianca
What is art?

I love "art", mainly in the traditional sense. The stuff you read, the stuff you listen to, the stuff you find in galleries and museums. I know less than I'd like. I never took an art history course. I haven't read enough on it. I just know with every fibre of my being how important it is to me, and, dare I say, to humanity.

I'm more skeptical of modern art - little jars with a year's collection of pubic hair and toe nail trimmings? No thank you. Yves Klein's monochromes? Nah. Yoko On
I'm not at all artistic and don't always understand art, in particular performance art, so it was with some trepidation I opened this book not realising what a treat I was in for. I had never heard of the famous performance artist Marina Abramović and her 3 month performance called 'The Artist is Present' at MoMA in New York where she sat absolutely still for 7 hours/day and invited members of the public to sit opposite her and gaze into her in the eyes. No touching or movement or speaking was a ...more
4.5 stars

I wanted to read The Museum of Modern Love since it came out a couple of years ago. I finally got my hands on it, as I anticipate seeing Heather Rose this weekend at the Perth Writers Festival.

I'm not the biggest fan of books that bend the line of non-fiction with fiction. But I am a huge art lover and I find Marina Abramovic fascinating, intriguing and quite extraordinary.

The first time I came across Abramovic's name was by reading an article about her performance piece Rhythm 0 (1
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
One of the characters asks...How do you define art? How do you answer that simply? To me it's something that is hard to pinpoint it's a feeling, it can bring joy, can cause confusion, it's pain, it's unadulterated happiness, it's an expression a way to connect with an audience it adds colour to dullness and makes people think, question and to look around the world with a different perspective. I love that it means something different to each individual, it's not uniform.

As the author states this
The Museum of Modern Love is a tender and thought-provoking book. Fusing fact and fiction, it centers around a real piece of performance art that was showcased at the MOMA in 2010 - The Artist is Present by the Serbian artist Marina Abramović. It then weaves together the narratives of several fictional characters, all of whom attend the performance and become so captivated by it that they attempt to use Marina's art as a way to process the grief in their own lives.

As someone who adores contempor
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This came out in Australia in September 2016 and just came out in the United States this month. The author starts with the event of Marina Abramovic's The Artist is Present at MOMA and explores the artist herself (in a fictional way but with permission and access to materials granted by the artist.) The rest of the novel is made up of the lives of the people drawn to the art. Nothing much happens, and I loved it. Through the various character the author is able to explore what draws people to ar ...more
Lark Benobi
Feb 19, 2019 added it
Recommends it for: all who adored Bel Canto
The Museum of Modern Love is a novel populated with intensely-feeling people, with Marina Abramovic’s performance piece “The Artist Is Present” acting as a focal point that reveals to the characters their true and deep emotional selves. I loved it a lot, and then I didn’t. It’s because about a third of the way through I stopped buying it. The people no longer felt real to me. Throughout the novel these characters are constantly feeling and regretting; feeling and regretting; feeling and regretti ...more
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is about performance art and the famous Marina Abramovic and her very unusual projects and works. This book touches on some of her other performance arts but mainly one, “The Artist is Present.” A stunning, highly attended event that was held for 75 days, March 29 through May 31, 2010, at the MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

I admit, I had not heard of Marina before reading this book. I had not really been attuned to “performance art,” so this was both an eye opener and a le
Paul Lockman
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-favourites

This is only the second novel I have read in 2017 but I knew within a few pages of starting it that it was likely to be one my favourites for the year. I could have finished it in a day but deliberately paced myself and took nearly a week as I wanted to prolong the enjoyment. I am not an art enthusiast so the fact that the novel primarily revolves around a real life artist Marina Abramovic and her ‘exhibition’ “The Artist is Present” in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and has fictional cha

Makis Dionis
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Μια πραγματεία περί μοντέρνας τέχνης. Μια τεράστια περφορμερ, κ οι δίνες γύρω από την τέχνη της κ την performance της - Η καλλιτέχνης είναι εδώ, στο ΜοΜΑ.
Άνθρωποι που ανακαλύπτουν κομματάκια ποίησης στις ζωές τους

Η ζωή είναι τα τραγούδια του Λέοναρντ Κοέν. Γλυκόπικρος έρωτας, λίγο σεξ κ μια θετική στιγμή.
Έπειτα η ζωή προχωράει. Ξεπερνας τον έρωτα, το σεξ έρχεται κ φεύγει κ ξεχνάς κ το Θεό τον ίδιο

Η τέχνη διδάσκει μια κάποια εξοικείωση με την μοναξιά και πιθανώς με τον πόνο. Είναι σαν σπορ.Κ ο στ
Jennifer Blankfein
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read this for book club...what is art and its meaning ?Cannot wait to discuss. LOVED it!
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-books
In 2010 a unique moving art performance titled ‘The Artist is Present’ was performed by Marina Abramovic at MoMA in New York for 75 days straight. This unique modern art experience is the driving force behind the story The Museum of Modern Love.

The Museum of Modern Love is Heather Rose’s reimagining of the highly acclaimed moving art performance, staged at the infamous MoMA in New York, performed by artist Marina Abramovic. More than just a commentary on the
Jan 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club
I feel guilty for not having felt the way the majority of reviewers did about this. I thought I would enjoy it because art and history are two of my favourite things to learn about and this incorporated both, but I just couldn’t get into the story. This was somewhere between a 1 and 2, but if it wasn’t for book club, I would have ‘DNF’d’ it before it got slightly more enjoyable, so I think a 1 is more appropriate.

Despite giving it a 1, I think the idea behind the book was interesting. Marina Ab
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not even going to try and write a proper review of this, because I won't be able to do it justice. Such a unique premise - a novel following a handful of people whose lives become linked through (the real life exhibition) Marina Abramovic's "The Artist is Present" at MOMA in New York. The story explores art, love, life among many other things and is fantastic in every way. Just go and read it.
Leslie Ray
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is centered around an actual performance artist, Marina Abramovic, and is based upon an actual performance exhibit that she did at the MoMA, called The Artist is Present in which the artist and people sit and gaze at each other. The author has provided a backdrop to the story with characters who become intertwined in viewing, and actually taking part in the performance. They are at various stages in their lives but their responses to the artist provide the impetus for each one to move ...more
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wonderful story exploring the rigors of true commitment as it relates to love, grief, art, and the human longing for connection. Based around real events, the reader glimpses the lives of some characters who have come to see Marina Abramovic’s ‘The Artist is Present’ at MoMA. A delightfully thought-provoking, meditative read.
Anna Spargo-Ryan
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this a lot. I'm a bit amazed it was written by an Australian -- something about it calls up the deep Americanness of authors like Franzen and Safran Foer. The white-privilegedness is probably part of that. These are mostly people who can afford to spend their time rubbing shoulders with celebrities at an art installation instead of going to work or being responsible for anyone else. That doesn't make the story any less interesting (not least because Marina Abramovic herself is such an in ...more
Jun 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is based on Marina Abramovic who is a performance artist. Her piece "The artist is present" involved her sitting in a chair for 75 days and people sitting across from her. She didn't move, pee, eat, scratch, nothing. People from all around the world lined up and waited for hours just to get the chance to sit across from Abramovic. Some people cried, others were deeply moved and I was incredibly confused. This whole thing reminded me of the fable about the king who walks around naked an ...more
Mary D
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
So bored reading this book. Very original, one star, at times some lovely, poignant writing, another star. But mostly I zoned out, took days to get back to reading it, felt like I was chewing the pages rather than reading them. Sure it rounded off nicely enough but win the Stella? Really??

Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was a slow morning at work. I poured myself a coffee and sat down across from a particularly endearing client of mine.

"Tell me story," I asked him.

"Tell you a story?" He paused, and twinkled. "I will tell you a story with my eyes." And with that he leaned forward a little, and we both gazed intently into each other's eyes, smiles tugging at the creases of our mouths. It was over in twenty seconds.

It can be unnerving, looking deeply into someone's eyes like that. Searching for emotions, tryin
Anastasia Ts.
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Το βιβλίο της Ρόουζ βασίζεται στην performance της Μαρίνα Αμπράμοβιτς στο ΜοΜΑ της Νέας Υόρκης. - πρόκειται για καλλιτεχνιδα που διχάζει το κοινό-. Συγκεκριμένα στην performance που διήρκησε 75 μέρες κάθισαν απέναντί της πάνω απο 1500 άτομα κοιτάζοντας το βλέμμα της. Η συγγραφέας παρουσιάζει ήρωες να παρατηρούν το έργο της αλλά κ να αντιδρούν κοιτάζοντάς την ακίνητη σε ένα τραπέζι. Κάποιοι αναθεωρούν για την ζωή τους, άλλοι δακρύζουν, άλλοι διαλογίζονται. Προσωπικά λατρευω της τέχνη της Αμπράμοβ ...more
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
Approximately 15 pages into The Museum of Modern Love, I decided that it was a contender for my favourite new release of the year. Two pages later I became concerned that if I kept on reading that it would take a turn for the worse and I’d end up hating it; I contemplated putting it down and never picking it up again because it just started out that good. Thankfully I didn’t stop reading, it didn’t take a turn for the worse, and it’s still a contender for my favourite new release of the year.

I f
Jaclyn Crupi
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I think it's easy for novels about ideas, art and artists to feel pretentious but Heather Rose manages to avoid that and she does it by delivering characters who feel so very real. Based around Abramovic's three-month long performance piece at MoMA, The Artist is Present, this book follows various people who visited or were involved in the piece. Full disclosure: I'm a huge Abramovic fan and may have stalked her in Geneva for a time (she smiled at me) so I was a little nervous going in but I nee ...more
Normally books about art and artists lose me. Not this time. The author centres her story around Marina Abramovic's 75 day long performance piece at MoMA. Her central character is Arky Levin, a successful composer whose wife has made him make a promise he does not want to keep.
There are a few other characters dealing with their own issues but it is all about Marina, her art and how it impacts on people.
It is a strange book with a ghost who narrates certain chapters, reflections on Yugoslavia and
Γιώτα Παπαδημακοπούλου
Ήταν την άνοιξη του 2010 όταν το Μουσείο Σύγχρονης Τέχνης της Νέας Υόρκης φιλοξένησε την πολύ μεγάλη, μα και αμφιλεγόμενη, καλλιτέχνη Μαρίνα Αμπράμοβιτς, σε μία από τις πλέον δημοφιλείς και γνωστές παραστάσεις της με τίτλο, "Η καλλιτέχνις είναι εδώ», στην οποία, όποιος άνθρωπος το επιθυμούσε, μπορούσε να σταθεί απέναντί της για ένα λεπτό κοιτάζοντάς την στα μάτια, χωρίς να ανταλλάξουν την παραμικρή λέξη μεταξύ τους. Η Αμπράμοβιτς κάθισε σε μία καρέκλα, αμίλητη, για 736 ώρες, ενώ απέναντί της βρέ ...more
Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A novel I recently finished before this one was one of voice—and one voice at that; with working-class people populating its pages. It struck me as I read this one that it’s the opposite—multiple voices, though one section doesn’t sound much different from another; with characters (not all) leading privileged lives.

The writing had its moments of beauty and insight; but I’m left with too many questions about the author’s choices, such as why did she choose to use an otherworldly narrator who purp
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Some thoughts about The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose –

01. This is easily one of the most original stories I’ve read. Ever.

02. At first I thought some of the writing was a little twee. Then I changed my mind – it’s lovely.

“When he was sixteen, his mother died. What do women who have drunk chamomile tea each night before bed, believed in invisible forces and played Chopin études before breakfast die of? A falling tree in a storm.”

03. This is art-lit but at a whole new level. It’s about pe
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reviews
What is art, and what is its purpose? These are the questions posed in The Museum of Modern Love, a fascinating book that blends fact with fiction, by Heather Rose.

In this highly original novel, Rose takes a real life event and peoples it with interesting fictional characters who interact with a particular work of art, are changed by it and come away from it having learned something of themselves and of others.

To read my review in full, please visit my blog.
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Play Book Tag: The Museum of Modern Love - Heather Rose - four stars 3 20 Jun 12, 2017 06:51PM  
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Heather Rose is the author of five novels with a further two due for publication in 2016. Heather writes for both adults and children. Her adult novels include The River Wife & The Butterfly Man.

Heather writes the acclaimed Tuesday McGillycuddy series for children under the pen name Angelica Banks with award-winning author Danielle Wood.

Heather’s first novel White Heart was published in 1999.
“Art will wake you up. Art will break your heart. There will be glorious days. If you want eternity, you must be fearless.” 5 likes
“The woman in red was surrounded by the crowd and she was alone. It was utterly public but intensely private.” 3 likes
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