I was so pleased and excited to see this lovely display at McNally Robinson on Thursday night when I was there for my writers’ group meeting. I am leading a book club at the Winnipeg Art Gallery based on the book Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. We are going to have a great discussion on May 21 at 11:30. Come and join us. We will be talking about the book and looking at some art pieces I’ve picked out that can connect with the book. You still have time to read the novel. As you can see McNally’s still has plenty of copies. Even if you don’t finish the book come and join us. You can find out how to register here and you can find out more about what we will be doing here. Would love to see you on the 21st!!
I am almost finished re-reading the Pulitzer Prize winning novel Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. On May 21st at 11:30 I will lead a Books and Brushes session at the Winnipeg Art Gallery where we will use Middlesex as our inspiration for looking at various pieces of art currently on view in the galleries. This is the fourth Books and Brushes session I have been assigned. Sometimes finding connections between a book and paintings or sculptures in the galleries is pretty easy. Other times when I start reading a novel I wonder how I will connect it at all. I first read Middlesex several years ago and just loved the breathtaking prose. Eugenides has this way of describing things and people and events that forces you to go back to read his words over and over and again because they paint such a wondrous picture. But on this second reading I couldn’t get too distracted by the beauty of the words because I had to focus on connections I could make between the book and the WAG art collection.
The first connection was easy. Middlesex tells the moving story of Calliope Helen Stephanides a hermaphrodite born in 1960 in Detroit into an incredibly colorful Greek family. Calliope eventually becomes Cal a fascinating man who works for the American state department in Berlin.
Androgyny by Norval Morrisseau 1983
I knew the reason Middlesex had been chosen by McNally Robinson the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s partner in the Books and Brushes series was because we currently have Norval Morrisseau’s giant mural Androgyny on view in the main lobby of our building. But what other works of art might connect with the book?
Clouds, Lake Superior- by Lawren Harris 1923
I read and wondered and read and wondered and then about a hundred pages in Voilà! I found a connection to the paintings of Lawren Harris one of Canada’s famous Group of Seven.
Margaux Hemingway by Tony Scherman
A hundred pages later I made a huge asterisk in my notes by a section of the novel that related perfectly to some new work at the gallery by Canadian artist Tony Scherman.
This kept happening so even though I am not quite finished re-reading Middlesex I know there will be plenty for me to talk about with my fellow book and art lovers on May 21st.
There is still lots of time for you to buy the book at McNally Robinson read it, and come and join me to discover the connections I’ve made between art and a beautifully written novel. You might even make some connections of your own and I’d love to talk about them with you. You can find out all the details about the book club here. Hope to see you there!
Bold and Beautiful
Two Diverse Member of the Group of Seven
The next novel in the Books and Brushes series at the Winnipeg Art Gallery is Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. Our book club meets on November 13 at 11:30. I am leading the session this time and the book that’s been chosen is a perfect fit with our current exhibit The 80s Image. I have just finished Tell the Wolves I’m Home and already have lots of ideas for ways to connect it with the art on display.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home takes place in 1987. Fourteen year old June Elbus has just lost the person she loved most in the world her uncle Finn Weiss who was a famous artist. Finn died of AIDS something that people don’t really want to talk about in 1987.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home is filled with intriguing cultural connections. The musical South Pacific plays a role, as does The Cloisters art museum in New York, the Middle Ages and its literature and art and……….. Mozart’s Requiem. And by happy coincidence the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir is performing Mozart’s Requiem at the St. Boniface Cathedral on November 11 just two days before the Books and Brushes session on November 13. You can learn more about that performance here.
AIDS by the art collective General Idea- 1988
So you can go and hear the requiem and then come to the WAG to see pieces in our 80s Images exhibit and talk about the role the art as well as Mozart’s music played in Tell the Wolves I’m Home.
You can register for Books and Brushes here. Our Books and Brushes program at the Winnipeg Art Gallery is a joint venture with McNally Robinson. You can buy the book at their Grant Park Store. Hope to see you on November 13.
Circle August 7th on your calendar and join me at the Winnipeg Art Gallery at 11:30 am for the latest installment in the gallery’s Books and Brushes program. We will be discussing the book The Private Lives of the Impressionists by Susan Roe. I’m already a few chapters in and I’m learning lots of intriguing stuff about the creators of all the wonderful paintings in the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s French Moderns Show. We will talk about the book and wander through the galleries to see the work by the fascinating men and women whose lives and relationships are detailed in its chapters. McNally Robinson Booksellers has copies of the book in stock. I bought mine at their lovely new little shop at The Forks but they are at the Grant Park store as well. You still have plenty of time to buy one and read it before August 7th. You can register for the book club by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’d love to have you join me!
A Tale of Two Portraits
Who is She?
You can still come to Books and Brushes. I am leading the book clubs at the Winnipeg Art Gallery this month. Since McNally Robinson no longer has copies of the book we will discuss Treasure Palaces: Great Writers Visit Great Museums and Winnipeg library copies are also all out, I’d suggest you read the two essays that will be the main focus of our discussion online and come and join us anyway! We’d love to have you. Here are the links to the two essays.
You can register for Books and Brushes at email@example.com
My first post about the book club is here
I am leading the book club sessions at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in November and this is your invitation to join me! Books and Brushes is a new venture. It’s designed for people who love books or love art or love both. The book we will discuss on on Tuesday November 21 from 11:30 am to 1 pm. and again on Friday November 24 from 7:30-9 pm is a perfect fit for Books and Brushes because it contains short essays by famous authors who describe their favorite art gallery or museum in the world. The book is called Treasure Palaces: Great Writers Visit Great Museums. It is edited by Maggie Fergusson. McNally Robinson book store in the Grant Park Mall has stocked up on copies and they are available in their art writing section. The nice thing about a book of essays is you can read them one at a time whenever you have a few minutes and even if you don’t read them all you can still come and enjoy talking about the ones you have read with the other book club attendees. We will look at some of the artwork mentioned by the various essay writers and then we’ll go out into the galleries at the WAG. I am excited about the ways I think we will be able to make connections between the artwork referred to in the book and the artwork in our current exhibits.
You have to sign up to attend Books and Brushes and you can do so by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
I’d love to see you there!
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A Bottomless Vortex of Books
Is It Art?