"Lee Krasner: A Biography" by Gail Levin sparked a great discussion for The Twin Cities Artful Book Club. Tell us about your book group! For a list of questions to answer, go to Writers' Guidelines and then write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you read a particular genre or type of book?
We read about the lives and stories of artists of all types, fiction or nonfiction. We read about the creative process, artists, writers, architects, designers, photographers, botanical art, the history of color and sculpture.
What book by a woman have you read recently?
The biography, "Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits," by Linda Gordon. Lange was one of the 20th century's great photographers who became famous for her work documenting migrant workers during the Depression. Lange's most famous portrait of a migrant mother, surrounded by her children, is an instantly recognizable image. Lange transformed her portrait photography into documentary work that explored the social history of the Dust Bowl, among other American stories.
What book by a woman recently sparked a great
"Lee Krasner: A Biography" by Gail Levin, about an abstract painter and collage artist and one of the few women painters hired by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the late 1930s. Krasner was married to painter Jackson Pollock. We discussed how her work was overshadowed by Pollock's and how this happens to so many great women who are instrumental in their partner's success.
We talked about the times in history when many of the women in our chosen books reside and how that affected their career options and life choices. What would Krasner's life and work have been like if she had not chosen to care for her husband's career? Did she care for his career because women artists did not have the same opportunities at that time? Who among us still puts our own work on the back burner for all kinds of confusing reasons?
What makes your group work?
We are not best friends reading together. The readers are sincerely interested in reading about artists and the creative process. Many of us are artists, writers and musicians ourselves.
What tips could you share with other groups?
Read the damn book. (Ha! Ha!) No, seriously, if you don't read the book, be prepared for any and all spoiler alerts. I also think it's important to realize that many people who enjoy reading measure closer to the introverted side of the Myers-Briggs test. Don't "take over" no matter how excited you are about the book. Leave room for the quiet, thoughtful reader who is waiting for her turn to share her opinion.
Editor's Note: The Twin Cities Artful Book Club is a public book club, open to women and men as members and book subjects. They meet the first Tuesday of the month, 6:30-8 p.m., at the Hopkins Center for the Arts.