‘Museum of Modern Love’ by Heather Rose


Genre: Fiction

I’m currently halfway through this sensational novel and it’s fast becoming one of my favourite books of 2017! This after months and months of out right saying ‘Nope!’ to the possibility of reading it because I thought it would just be another cheesy romance…well popular won this round-



‘The Museum of Modern Love’ won the 2017 Stella Prize for Fiction. This is a major literary award in Australia and is awarded to female writer’s whose work champions culture change. This is my first read of a winning piece.

But let’s get to the good stuff. Why is this book awesome.


  1. It’s set in New York- yay! But not cheesy sitcom comedy NY (Sex in the City and HIIYM I’m looking at you) but the real reason New York is an icon, because it hub of personalities and styles all drawn together by the seduction of creativity
  2. The story revolves around the artist Marina Abramovic in The Artist is Present presented at the MOMA. Abramovic is a real artist, whose works of art have caused serious stir within the art community since the 70s. One of most well known works was Rhythm 0, 1974 where Abramovic placed 72 objects on a table that people were allowed to use on the artist in any way they chose- some objects were pleasurable and others inflicted pain. Throughout the performance Abramovic had to remain passive as the audience did what they pleased to her body. The artist was testing what people deem acceptable to do to one another. By the end of 6 hours Abramovic had been stripped, carried around the room, cut and a loaded gun had been pointed to her head. This and her other performances have earned Abramovic the title of the “grandmother of performance art.”



The story then looks into the lives of certain audience members who are drawn to Abramovic’s latest work, “The Artist at Present”. In this the artist sits at a chair and table with an empty chair opposite her each day, all day. Audience members are encouraged to sit opposite the artist while she remain passive and silent.

The threads of lives that become intertwined and drawn to this work is why I find this book so enjoyable. It’s unexpected. It’s not a classic love story. In fact, romance is a secondary feature of the book. Heather Rose seems to be exploring a deeper understanding of what love is- particularly when we consider it beyond love simply for one another.

Highly recommend!




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