As soon as I read review of Modern Women I wanted to read it. It’s a brand new publication from MOMA, so my local public library doesn’t have it yet. Earlier this week I ordered it, and it came in the mail about an hour ago. It will be a treat to sit down to read it in a dedicated way. There are a lot of skilled, inspired and influential women contained in these pages. From what I’ve seen so far, Modern Women talks about the careers and creative lives of female artists with work at MOMA in a scholarly way. Each essay is headed by either the name of an artist, or a broader topic, such as “Women on Paper” which sums up a broader group of work. From the brief skimming I’ve done so far, the authors of each essay seem to approach their subjects mainly from scholarly contexts, ie. other than simply who they were sleeping with. Though the sleeping-with part certainly influences a person, the broader social/ political/ artistic setting in which they live/ lived is just larger and deserves to be treated that way. (Unfortunately this idea cannot always be taken for granted in writings about art/ artists, especially if they are women.) So, I’m looking forward to reading more about perennial favorites (Hannah Hoch, Eva Hesse, Kiki Smith) as well as re-learning things from my Women in Art class and being introduced to some completely new artists.

I’m also reading a novel/ novella by Carson McCullers called The Ballad of the Sad Cafe. I heard en excerpt of McCullers’ writing on this episode of Studio 360 and the cadence of her writing appealed to me. I’m enjoying the story a lot so far, though it’s a little bizarre. It’s set in a small mill town in the South (Georgia) sometime after automobiles, but before much else that was modern. It begins with a stranger coming to town an the story surrounds a strong, capable woman (who is kind of manly). I didn’t realize until the book was back at home with me that her name is Miss Amelia.

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