Winner of the 2017 Stella Prize.
'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 have one.' Stella Adler
'Art will wake you up. Art will break your heart. There will be glorious days. If you want eternity you must be fearless.' From The Museum of Modern Love
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.
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.
Rose's clever, genre-bending hybrid of fact and fiction is an exploration of love and convergence set against the backdrop of a work of art performed by Marina Abramovic at MoMA in New York City in 2010. Troubled composer Arky Levin, whose absent wife is gravely ill, joins several other needy characters as they witness the Serbian artist sitting at a table in the museum, gazing into the eyes of anyone wishing to join her (as the artist really did in 2010, for over 700 hours over the course of a few months). He becomes friendly with Jane Miller, who has come from Georgia burdened with the death of her husband, but many others watch as well, and each is healed or transformed by the experience. Assisting the characters in unspooling their stories is a spirit or angel, guardian of the creatives Arky and Marina, the ghost of Marina's mother Danica, and, most strangely, the artist herself. Rose dives into the head of Abramovic to muse upon the meaning of it all, which might appear controversial had Abramovic not given the author complete freedom to appropriate. Taken together, these points of view succeed in creating a portrait of human desire and human failing, but perhaps most profoundly, human striving for something greater than self. Rose's melancholy book resonates with emotion, touching on life's great dilemmas death, vocation, love, art.