More than just that rare treat, a book that requires something of the reader – it is a book that painstakingly prepares you for its own requirements ... bold ... a novel with artistic sensibility at its core ... Abramovic polarises people, but even if you're not a fan or are unfamiliar with her work, the observations on life and art that come about in The Museum of Modern Love, as a result of reflecting on her work, are profound.
Even if you've never cottoned to Abramovic's transgressive, self-flagellating body of work and regard the lengths she has gone in her explorations of physical endurance and the relationship between the artist and her audience as more stunt than art, Rose's passionate take on it opens readers up to a fresh look. That said, the knife slashes, razor blades, and Great Wall of China trek make for sensational reading, but The Museum of Modern Love wouldn't work if Rose's characters and their stories weren't as compelling as her appreciative assessment of this controversial artist whose 'metier [is] to dance on the edge of madness, to vault over pain into the solace of disintegration' ... Rose clearly believes in the redemptive, transformative power of art for artist and audience, writer and reader.
... Rose succeeds in bringing this cultural moment in time to life ... One of the book’s narrators is an all-seeing, artistic guardian angel, and there are moments in The Museum of Modern Love that felt a little too much like that sappy holiday favorite 'It’s a Wonderful Life' for me. Still, the way that Rose’s lonely characters are transformed when sitting with Abramovic ends up being magical and wholly absorbing.
The Museum of Modern Love interrogates what it is that drives artists to create—and the power of their creations on those who allow themselves to truly look at them. For, in the end, that’s also one of the subjects here: the fact that one of the most remarkable things about Abramović’s work in 'The Artist Is Present' is the shared gaze, the idea that if we truly look around—at art, at one another—we may begin to see things anew.
Already a winner of several literary prizes in Australia and short-listed for the Australian Literary Society’s 2017 Gold Medal, The Museum of Modern Love is an engaging, multifaceted meditation on the meaning of life and art ... This is a brilliant find for any reader who enjoys grappling with the larger questions of life and literature, and it is an excellent choice for book clubs seeking thought-provoking discussion.
In many ways, the novel falls short of expectations. Hearing Rose talk about her experience during the book launch left me enthralled and eager to read about the transformative power of 'The Artist Is Present.' However, I found myself losing interest in the novel, slogging through the text in the hopes of finding some deeper meaning, but to no avail ... In the end, though, the details fell flat, and I remain unable to grasp what people, both in life and in this novel, experienced as they sat before Marina Abromović.
Deeply involving ... offers an illuminating perspective on the proceedings, adding to the mystery and power of Abramović’s life and performance, and engendering profound questions about the divide between artist and art, artist and audience, self and creativity, love and spirit. Rose’s emotionally rich and thought-provoking homage and inquiry should prompt readers to seek out Abramović’s dramatic memoir, Walk through Walls (2016).
Tremblingly earnest ... a bold proposition—Rose does not shy away from grappling with questions about the meaning and purpose of art—but too often, the answers to those questions tend to feel like platitudes about art and suffering ... The real power of the book, though, lies not in its philosophizing but in the unsteady tenderness between its characters ... A book that attempts to walk the thin line between the trite and the profound—and sometimes succeeds.