Modern Art by Evelyn Toynton
180 pgs., 4 stars
ABOUT THE BOOK: Modern Art molds the story of Lee Kasner’s life, Jackson Polluck’s wife, into a fictional tale. Belle Pokof is the widow of the late famous modern artist Clay Madden. Their marriage wasn’t a happy one. Madden was an alcoholic and killed himself in a drunken car crash (like Polluck). An artist herself, Belle’s work was always shadowed by the great Madden. Now, she can no longer paint because of crippling arthritis. However, art students still visit her to learn more about Clay Madden (not to learn about her or her work). Ah, the plight of the female artist in the 40s. I’m such a sucker for this sort of thing.
It’s during one of these student interviews where Belle meets Lizzie, who is pursuing a graduate degree in English. Lizzie’s boyfriend is Paul, an Australian artist and professor. Paul is obsessed with Clay Madden, but Lizzie finds Belle to be the more intriguing character. When Lizzie learns that Belle is looking for a nurse for the summer, Lizzie applies for the job. Working for Belle, Lizzie discovers a tightly guarded woman who is discontent with how her life has turned out. As their friendship blossoms, Lizzie finds out a few intimate details of Belle and Clay’s life together, which may affect her own relationship with Paul.
A lot of times books about art can be exclusive, but this book was not at all that way. The art history provided the concrete base of the story, but the characters—their relationships, their dreams—were the meat of the book. I loved reading Modern Art!! My only complaint is that it was too short. Also I read it via Netgalley on my Kindle and a lot of the spacing/formatting was messed up and sometimes made it difficult to read.
ABOUT THE OUTFIT: My kindred literary spirit you’ve been flirting with the art world, but you still show your love for classic literature with this Jane Austen “Reading is Sexy” thong. Cover it up with your light blue jeans cause you’re all about casual, and pastel colored jeans are all the rage this summer.*
Your black nails and black eyeliner reek of art school chic to cover up that dusty English major smell. Get a few subsidiary piercings—nothing too outrageous just a couple of cartilage studs—so you look hard at first glance, but you’re really a soft soul.
Your comfy Toms quote Corinthians: “Love is patient, love is kind…” and your grey sweatshirt sports a large heart just like the one in your chest. You love that grumpy old woman and your useless boyfriend to a fault. Be careful though, because big hearts can break into many small pieces, especially in the hands of people so careless.
Your Toms are splashed with paint just like Polluck’s canvases. Even though you don’t paint anymore, you married a man who has changed the world with his painting.** And while you’re crusading to make his work known, he’ll “paint the town red” with his mistress. This flashy iPhone case may as well say “Get Drunk and Die!”
In becoming the PR face for your husband’s art, you have neglected your own. But these super cute paintbrush dangly earrings won’t let you forget the days when you held a paintbrush firmly in your non-arthritic hand!
*referring to the young girl.
**referring to the old lady.