Book Review

August '16

Tuesday Nights in 1980 (Hardcover)
Molly Prentiss

Tuesday night. It's always a Tuesday night that famous New York gallerist Winona George opens her art shows.  George is rich, she is discerning, and she can discover an unknown artist and make him or her famous.  George hangs the art impeccably.  She knows everyone.  She understands what will sell and who will buy it.  If you are an artist, she can make you. Or break you. 

Soho in 1980, a mecca for artists, some living illegally in an abandoned building called "The Squat."  The artists are making art on canvas, on walls, on matchbooks, on masks, even on each other. They are also making music, late into the night.  They're making drugs and sex and rock'n'roll.  Making art that means something, that is important.  Making art for art's sake.  Not pandering to "the man' who decides what is art.  Making art that they need to sell to pay for drugs and sex and rock'n'roll. 

Discerning James Bennett, the up and coming and married art critic for The New York Times, sees colors, auras, flavors that no one else does.  Like George, he can discover an unknown artist and make him or her famous. Or not.  Bennett wears a white suit with a small black stain to the openings.

Rual Engales, an artist, fled Argentina and Peron's Dirty War.  He now lives in the squat. He makes art and drugs and sex and rock'n'roll. Bennett and George says he is a major talent, she will hang his show.  On Tuesday night.

Beautiful Lucy Olliason loves Raul. And James. Lucy loves men.  She lives in the squat, and makes art, and complications.

Tuesday Nights in 1980. New York City, Soho. When and where the best gallery shows open, or not. 

Published in hardcover April 5, 2016. Projected paperback release date February 7, 2017. 

Highly recommended.