Wow! Heather Rose’s “The Museum of Modern Love,” a contemporary fiction novel about love and loss and art and life was excellent.
The story is the intertwining of lives around the historical performance of Marina Abramovic’s “The Artist is Present.” The exhibit features Abramovic, a performance artist who sits on a chair all day at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to stare into the eyes of the participants who come to sit with her. participants can sit for as long or as short as they would like, and the live performances are set to run for 75 days. The intertwining and fictional story is the story of Arky Levin, a film composer who has recently separated from his wife, who has forced him to keep a heartbreaking promise. Levin visits The Atrium at MOMA and encounters Abramovic’s “The Artist is Present.” The performance is spellbinding. He finds himself returning to the performance day after day.
The novel is deep and thought-provoking. It churns up questions about love and commitment. “What is a spouse’s responsibility in marriage?” “What does it mean to ‘grow old’ together?” “What are the ways we can love one another?” “Is one form of love better or worse?” The novel is not a book about romance, but instead it is about human relationships and meaning and existence.
There is so much here to unpack and think about. This would make for an excellent book club read on a lot of fascinating topics and ideas. I really relished reading this book.