The Marriage Artist by Andrew Winer
When the wife of renowned art critic Daniel Lichtmann plunges to her death, she is not alone. Lying next to her is her suspected lover, Benjamin Wind, the very artist Daniel most championed. Tormented by questions about the circumstances of their deaths, Daniel dedicates himself to uncovering the secrets of their relationship and the inspiration behind Wind's dazzling final exhibition.
What Daniel discovers is a web of mysteries leading back to pre-World War II Vienna and the magnificent life of Josef Pick, a forgotten artist who may have been the twentieth century's greatest painter of love. But the most astonishing discoveryis what connects these two artists acrosshalf a century: a remarkable woman whose response to the tragedy of her generation offers Daniel answers to the questions he never knew to ask.
Ambitious, haunting, and stunningly written, The Marriage Artist tells a universal tale of a family dramatically reshaped by the quest for personal freedom in the face of inherited beliefs, public prejudices, and the unfathomable turns of history. It is at once a provocative snapshot of contemporary marriage, the recovery of a passion that history never recorded, and a fierce reminder of the way we enlist love in our perpetual search for meaning and permanence.
Below you can find the Twitter discussion of The Marriage Artist with author Andrew Winer that took place March 2, 2011. Make sure to follow Jewish Book Council (@jewishbook) for more Twitter Book Club events!
JewishBook: Hi and welcome everyone!Thanks for joining us. We're glad to have @Andrew_Winer here with us to talk abt The Marriage Artist #JBCBooks
erikadreifus: Hi, tweeps. For the next 45 minutes or so, I'll be participating in a @JewishBook Twitter Book Club. Feel free to follow along at #JBCBooks.
erikadreifus: FYI: The title up for discussion is The Marriage Artist, by @Andrew_Winer #JBCBooks.
erikadreifus: I am so glad that @JewishBook holds these chats during lunch hour! So many chats take place when dayjobbers can't participate.#JBCBooks
elesscom: Eager to hear from @andrew_winer & readers in the book chat starting now @JewishBook #jbcbooks Who else is tweeting in for the discussion?
erikadreifus: @jewishbook Glad to be here. But Hootsuite doesn't seem to be doing so well keeping up w/the hashtag. Just me? #JBCBooks
JewishBook: I'll start off. @ Andrew_Winer, can you tell us a little abt your bkgrnd? What influenced you to write this book? #JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: Hello all. Happy to be chatting with you. #JBCBooks
elesscom: Do we need a question to start? #Jbcbooks @JewishBook here's 1: which of the 2 plotlines was easier 2 write? Past or present?
amydominy: I'm following along #JBCbooks! Glad to be here.
Andrew_Winer: I knew I wanted to write about marriage, and somehow deal with art and the art world that I'd come from. I was a painter in NY.#JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: At a wedding, I saw the most beautiful ketubah, realized it was a work of art that dealt with the most important matters: love, #JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: what we owe our beloved, faith, sex, death. It all came together when I envisioned a gallery of flying people holding hands.#JBCBooks
elesscom: that's why so many ppl hang thie ketubah prominently: art + significance. Per #nytimes article , many non-Jews buying them too #jbcbooks
erikadreifus: @Andrew_Winer I see 2 questions so far: 1) Yr background/how you came 2 write this book & 2) Past/present plotlines-which easier? #JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: @elesscom Both plotlines engaged all of my energies. At first, it felt like I was writing two books, but that quickly went away.#JBCBooks
JewishBook: @Andrew_Winer so the inspiration for Benjamin's sculptures came purely out of your imagination? #JBCBooks
BookGal102: @Andrew_Winer Are the names at the end of the book real people?#JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: The character who most swept me up while writing was Hannah.#JBCBooks
elesscom: @andrew_winer pls tweet as fast as you can, bc time is short & interest is high, but twitter isn't being cooperative #jbcbooks@JewishBook
Andrew_Winer: That vision become Benjamin Wind's mysterious show--and it was the show I wished I'd made while still in the art world. #JBCBooks
JewishBook: @Andrew_Winer what abt the idea behind how the sculptures were cast? #JBCBooks
erikadreifus: Interesting question. RT @bookgal102: @Andrew_Winer Are the names at the end of the book real people? #JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: @BookGal102 The last names are those of people who were sent out of Vienna to the death camps. I wanted to honor them.#JBCBooks
BookGal102: @Andrew_Winer what do you think about the relationship between abuse and love, which is the name of one chapter? #JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: @BookGal102 I changed the first names, switched them around, which I felt more comfortable with, "fictionalizing" them.#JBCBooks
amydominy: @Andrew_Winer That's a beautiful way to honor the names! #JBCBooks
erikadreifus: @andrew_winer Since you're from art world...have you read previous #JBCBooks selection, Blue Nude, by Elizabeth Rosner? (1)
Andrew_Winer: @JewishBook Yes, I'd been asking for cosmic permission to write this book, and it came to me in the form of that vision. #JBCBooks
erikadreifus: @JewishBook Interesting that we've had two consecutive art-focused novels. #JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: Am tweeting quickly. Slow response time. #JBCBooks
erikadreifus: @andrew_winer I love yr answer re: names. I have done something similar in my work, using a Klarsfeld book. Same reasoning.#JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: @JewishBook Those are actual casting techniques, some of them going 100s of years back, some extremely contemporary.#JBCBooks
elesscom: Benjamin's sculptures reminded me of the post-9.11 sculpture of a person falling. Was that intended? A reference? #jbcbooks@andrew_winer
Andrew_Winer: @BookGal102 Can you clarify? "Abuse and Love"? No chapter with that title. #JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: @erikadreifus I met Elizabeth, but haven't had a chance to read her book yet. #JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: I wanted to use the book to ask large spiritual questions, too.#JBCBooks
BookGal102: @Andrew_Winer it seems to be a recurring theme - max and hannah, daniel and his relationships #JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: @elesscom No, no connection. The sculptures for me were about the profoundness of connecting to others, in love, and across time.#JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: @BookGal102 I was dealing with love at the extremes, when it runs into history. #JBCBooks
elesscom: @andrew_winer #jbcbooks. What led u 2 switch from art 2 writing? How are the creative processes similar or different? Do u still "do" art?
BookGal102: @Andrew_Winer related q, What is the significance of Max’s homosexuality to the story? its relevance in a book about marriage?#JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: I wanted to explore the absolute limits (if there are any) of love in the historical dimension (are we limited by time's passing?)#JBCBooks
elesscom: @andrew_winer #jbcbooks Loved the book's opening, when we discover how daniel & benjamin's lives/loves intersected. any real life source?
Andrew_Winer: Was trying to tell stories in my paintings. Felt limited. Writing allows me to express more fully my angle on being in the world.#JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: @erickadreifus Yes, 9/11 is subtly in the background. And I think you're right--the show evokes it. #JBCBooks
JewishBook: Thanks all for ur patience & endurance! @Andrew_Winer, if you could field all the q's that have been asked, we can then wrap up#JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: @elesscom I made Daniel an art critic to get some distance on my art world experiences. Yes, some autobiography in there.#JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: @BookGal102 Re: homosexuality. Wanted to deal with all kinds of love, love that transcended norms.#JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: @BookGal102 Wanted to run my questions about marriage up against the boundaries. Max is my tragic vehicle. #JBCBooks
erikadreifus: @jewishbook @Andrew_Winer Thank you for the opportunity to chat abt the book. Nice to "meet" everyone! #JBCBooks
Andrew_Winer: Nice chatting with you. Thank you for the good questions! Thanks to JBC! Warmly, Andrew #JBCBooks
BookGal102: @Andrew_Winer thanks for the opportunity, Andrew! #JBCBooks
elesscom: @andrew_winer Am savoring the book. Had 2 put it down to prep for 2 book clubs & plan to finish last 50 or so pages next wk #jbcbooks
Andrew_Winer: @elesscom Glad to know. Thanks for the nice note. #JBCBooks