Winner of the 2017 Stella Prize, The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose is 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.
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. This dazzlingly original novel asks beguiling questions about the nature of art, life and love and finds a way to answer them.
She watched as the final hours of The Artist is Present passed by, sitter after sitter in a gaze with the woman across the table. Jane felt she had witnessed a thing of inexplicable beauty among humans who had been drawn to this art and had found the reflection of a great mystery.
What are we? How should we live? 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.
Art will wake you up. Art will break your heart. There will be glorious days. If you want eternity you must be fearless. – The Museum of Modern Love
Heather Rose’s work spans adult literary fiction, children’s literature, fantasy/sci-fi and crime. Her previous novels include White Heart (1999), The Butterfly Man (2005) and The River Wife (2009). She is co-author (with Danielle Wood) of the acclaimed Tuesday McGillycuddy series for children (written under the pen-name Angelica Banks and published internationally).
Rose won the Davitt Award in 2006, and her work has been shortlisted for the Nita B. Kibble Award and the Aurealis Awards, and longlisted for the IMPAC Award. She was a recipient of Varuna’s Eleanor Dark Fellowship and was the inaugural Writer in Residence at the Museum of Old and New Art (MoNA) in Hobart from 2012 to 2013 where she did much of the research for The Museum of Modern Love. Currently studying Fine Arts at UTAS, this is her seventh book.
Image: The Museum of Modern Love