ArtCurious: Stories of the Unexpected, Slightly Odd, and Strangely Wonderful Art History

Jennifer Dasal. Penguin, $17 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-14-313459-6
Curator and ArtCurious podcaster Dasal reveals in this entertaining survey the weird, wacky, and unbelievable backstories of some of the world’s greatest artists and most famous works of art. Evolving out of her podcast, the book delivers on its promise to “share fascinating narratives of art, artists, and how our world has been affected by them in strange, unexpected ways.” Revealing the often scandalous side of art, Dasal describes the moxie and rule-breaking of Claude Monet (1840–1926) and the Impressionists, who turned the art world on its head simply by painting outdoors; and how the CIA employed Abstract Expressionism to covertly advance American ideals during the Cold War. She also considers whether British painter Walter Sickert (1860–1942) was actually the notorious killer Jack the Ripper; documents how illustrator Norman Rockwell created some of the most indelible images of the civil rights era (as in his 1965 painting Murder in Mississippi); examines various forgeries of the Mona Lisa; explains how artists, such as Leonardo in 1510s Milan, obtained corpses through doctors for anatomical studies; and investigates whether a German Baroness actually conceived Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 Fountain masterpiece. Both art aficionados and novices will find something to appreciate in this offbeat and informative outing. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/04/2020
Release date: 09/15/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-0-525-50640-9
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