9 Quotes On Modern Love From A New Book All About The Subject

Over the centuries, few things have been written about as much or as often as art and love. In her profound new novel, Australian author Heather Rose becomes the latest in a long line of writers, thinkers, philosophers, and artists to explore the uniquely human topics, and these beautiful quotes from The Museum of Modern Love will inspire you to see what it is she has to say about them.

Inspired by artist Marina Abramović's 2010 performance at the Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Modern Love follows Arky Levin, an accomplished composer of film scores who has hit a dead end in his personal and professional life. After his wife unexpectedly leaves him (for surprising and heartbreaking reasons the readers eventually learn), he struggles to produce good music and spends his days wandering around New York meditating on his failures and his shortcomings. That is, until one day when he stumbles upon an exhibit at MoMA that changes his life: The Artist is Present, Abramović's famous performance piece in which she sits silent and unmoving as visitors take turns sitting across from her. The moment Arky sets eyes on the strangely powerful installation, he is inexplicably drawn in, and for reasons he doesn't entirely understand, returns to see it every day.

So too does Jane, a tourist, art teacher, and grieving widow visiting the city after the death of her beloved husband. Instead of seeing what the Big Apple has to offer, Jane spends her vacation watching Abramović;s performance until she eventually decides to sit with the artist, an experience that changes her life. The novel introduces others who come to sit with Abramović: Healayas, an art critic and old friend of Arky's; Brittika, a graduate student, blogger, and passionate art lover; Carlos, a social media star who sits with the artist over a dozen times. There is also the looming presence of the ghost of Abramović's mother Danica, who watches her daughter's performance from above day in and day out, and the all-knowing, all-seeing muse who narrates the book. And of course, there is the character of Abramović herself, whose life is explored through flashbacks and a fascinating exploration of her past exhibits.

Rose's first adult novel published in the United States, The Museum of Modern Love is a tender meditation on art, love, grief, and life. Here are nine of its most beautiful quotes on the topics

“Art will wake you up. Art will break your heart. There will be glorious days. If you want eternity you must be fearless.”

"To write music he must hurdle over a morass of broken dreams. Every time he goes to lead, he comes up short."

"This is where I watch artists stumble, as they oscillate between force and submission. You would be amazed how rare it is for artists to feel moments of true satisfaction. When they're inside their craft, inside color or movement or sound, words or clay or pictures or dance, when they submit to the art, that is when they know two things — the void that is life and the pull that is death. The grand and the hollow. The best reflects that. To be such harbingers of truth is not without its cost. It's no easy task to balance a sense of irrelevance with the longing for glory, the abyss with the applause. Artists run their fingers over the fabric of eternity."

"'All the great art makes us feel something quite indescribable. Perhaps it's not the best word — but there doesn't seem to be a better one to capture how art can be... transformative. A kind of access to a universal wisdom."

"Jane felt she had witnessed a thing of inexplicable beauty among humans who had been drawn to this art and had found the reflection of a great mystery. What are we? How should we live?"

"It would be easier if humans lived longer. The span is brief. It takes so long even to begin to understand the job ahead. Art is really a sort of sport. To master the leap is essential. It is the game of the leap. Practice, practice, practice, then leap. The starting point may be different for each, but the goal is the same. Do something worthwhile before you die."

"Who would have imagined there would be such faces? He had photographed architecture, history, musicians. Now, day after day, he looked into the human faces, painted with curiosity, and he saw the abyss of history within a human heart. Every one was its own beaten, salvaged, polished, engraved, carved, luminous form."

"Artists are stubborn. They have to be. Even when nothing is happening, the only way through is to work and work."

"Every idea is invisible until it isn't. Love is invisible yet we can see it. Attraction is the same. Inspiration is invisible, though it sings and dances through every day."