Book Tour

Last Thursday I met a friend at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for a book tour. These are free tours that they provide every Thursday night (although never go on the third Thursday…..) in which the docents pick whatever pieces they want to illustrate some aspect of the chosen book.  This month the book is The Great Reckoning by Louise Penny.  As one of my favorite authors, I didn’t want to miss this one.

My friend and I are always curious to see what the docents come up with. There are no required choices and I discovered a couple of years ago (long story about going twice in one month with different friends) that each docent chooses their own artwork to spotlight.  So you never know exactly what you’re going to get.  On Thursday it was all modern artwork and even after the docent explained her reasoning for choosing a couple of the pieces, my friend and I were still a little mystified.  This isn’t a problem, as no matter what the reasoning, we’re getting to see art and talk about books.  Hard to go wrong there.

Next month the book is The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg.  I’ve heard of the author but not the title.  I have it requested from the library; hopefully I’ll get it in time.

What book would you like the Institute to add to the tour list? And if you had to choose a piece of art to go with it?

26 thoughts on “Book Tour”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Wow, VS, this one will keep me thinking all day. Since reading it, my mind has been scrolling though museum exhibits, artwork, and books. Years ago I read a book that I found life changing, “The Women’s Room” by Marilyn French. It was a feminist novel that spurred community discussions and book groups. The author seemed bitter and angry about her lot in life, somewhat stuck in resentment despite moving on in many ways. I don’t know what artwork would represent this, nor do I understand why that book (from 1977 or 78) would have popped up in my mind. But there it is.

    Maybe they could just do a Dr. Seuss evening. Then the books and artwork require no thought about expressing content or emotion. It’s all just right there.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. bluebeard is a book by kurt vonnegut of an artist who screwed up and chose a paint that after 20 years started falling off the canvas

    i would walk from monets haystack to rembrandts lucretia to chuck closes self portrait and talk about how you would feel if a new global warming issue developed a canvas mold that made all the artwork in the world painted on canvas falling off to the floor

    what would you miss?

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  3. I don’t read much fiction or anything that would attract people to a docent tour, but recently I read The Sweetest Fruits by Monique Truong, a fictionalized account of the life of Lafcadio Hearn, told through the voices of the women in his life. Born in Greece to a Greek woman and an Irish Soldier father, Hearn came to America as a young man, settling first in Cincinnati, where he found work as a reporter. He was especially attracted to the demi-monde, to the lurid and the fantastic and the things he chose to report on reflected this. His articles were popular and sold papers. Later, he moved to New Orleans, where he continued his journalist career and his reporting on the seamy side, with voodoo thrown into the mix. In New Orleans, he collected stories and legends that became the basis for a book. He even collected recipes for a cookbook. Leaving New Orleans, he spent a couple of years in the West Indies, adding to his authorship. Finally, in the latter part of the nineteenth century, he sailed for Japan, where he married and spent the rest of his life, becoming a Japanese subject. The books he wrote in Japan are the ones for which he is best known. His book Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan was one of the first books to explain Japanese culture to a western audience. Most of his books, however, are collections and retellings of Japanese myths, legends and ghost stories.

    At the Minneapolis Institute, the literal choices might be some of photographs of New Orleans, like those taken by Alec Soth, E. J. Bellocq and others. The historic photos of New Orleans are unlike those of any other city. And of course the woodcut prints of Hiroshige, especially those that depict ancient temples, reflect Hearn’s sensibility.

    But if I had to choose one piece to represent Hearn’s sense of the mysterious,, I’d pick Veiled Lady by Rafaello Monti:
    https://collections.artsmia.org/search/Veiled%20lady

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    1. It’s interesting that you mention The Veiled Lady because she is hands down my favorite piece of art at the art institute. I think it’s just amazing that you can cut stuff out of rock and make it look like a translucent veil. I am mesmerized every time I look at it. And non-fiction is fine too. The very first book tour I went to was a biography of George Washington.

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        1. Wandering Ghost by Jonathan Cott. I also have one by Vera McWilliams that I haven’t read (yet) and a couple of books that are more about his writing than about his life.

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  4. Hi-
    Wow, I am just way too far out of touch compared to the rest of you.
    I do enjoy photography exhibits.
    I can’t imagine any books to go with.
    But it is always interesting to hear the thoughts behind directors or painters and the choices they make.

    I don’t often watch movies with the directors commentary turned on, but I watched a silly movie daughter had “Johnny English; Reborn” (Rowen Atkinson as detective Johnny English) and turned on the commentary for part of it and it’s so fun to hear the background to things.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I too am having a hard time conjuring up a visual to go with my reading. I’d like to see something for Where the Crawdads Sing, though I can’t imagine the art to complement it – some lovely river scene I guess… Will keep thinking.

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    1. Oh I wish I remember the names of all the pieces. There was one sculpture that had various gun parts put together-it was a beat your swords into plows kind of thing-African artist. Another one was a piece that was right nearby, a painting of souls-I don’t remember that one either. And there was a very interesting collage/painting called What is an American? I probably should write them all down when I’m there but it’s more fun to just kind of cruise and look with the docent.

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      1. Thank you, Verily. I was a docent at the MIA for 26 years, and also a fan of Penny’s books. The works you describe sound like new additions to the collection with which I’m unfamiliar.

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        1. I would definitely say that everything we looked at fell into the category of very modern Art and some of them I believe were fairly recent acquisitions.

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