Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel

Ninth Street Women

Five women revolutionize the modern art world in postwar America in this "gratifying, generous, and lush" true story from a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist (Jennifer Szalai, New York Times).Set amid the most turbulent social and political period of modern times, Ninth Street Women is the impassioned, wild, sometimes tragic, always exhilarating chronicle of five women who dared to enter the male-dominated world of twentieth-century...

Details Ninth Street Women

TitleNinth Street Women
Release DateSep 25th, 2018
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
GenreArt, Nonfiction, History, Biography, Art History, Feminism

Reviews Ninth Street Women

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    ”All artists succumb to self-doubt; it is the handmaiden of creation. For a woman, however, whether in Virginia Woolf’s early twentieth-century England or Joan Mitchell’s 1950’s New York, that doubt would have been the result of forces both creative and social. Of the latter, Woolf wrote, ’The indifference of the world which Keats and Flaubert and other men of genius have found so hard to bear was in her case not indifference but hostil...
  • Doria
    More than just a fabulous five-way biography of five extraordinary artists, this is also the biography of a place and time and an art movement, a way of life, and a community. Mary Gabriel has fleshed out the story of the artists of the New York School, centering on their heyday during the 40s and 50s, but giving the necessary background material of their Depression-era development. If this sounds dry and academic, it’s not. The world of the Ni...
  • Jessie
    NetGalley ARC.I think I've been dreaming of this book since college. As a former Art History Major, I feel like I have to defend Abstract Expressionism, one of my favorite periods. While the paintings of Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Mitchell and Frankenthaler, as well as their male compatriots, may seem simple, they are deceptively complex. No, you could not have painted this Jackson Pollock, and even if you could, you didn't, he did. While the bo...
  • Rachel
    Gabriel expertly merges historical context with artistic knowledge, making for an easy read, albeit a long one. It is a length that the reader doesn’t notice much, because they are having so much fun. Why worry about the length of a chapter when you’re following along the adventures of Grace Hartigan and Frank O’Hara? Gabriel creates a vision of these women that is stunning, and not always flattering. These are imperfect women and dedicated...
  • Aloha
    Fabulous!This book is dense with vivid details, and expertly crafted weaving through each of the woman artist’s life and the lives of the people influential in the art world . This is one of those books I wish I have time to review if I didn’t have an intense day job. I hope it wins some sort of an award or recognition.Memorable and going in my favorites.
  • Robert Lukins
    Incredibly vivid and thorough portrait of the New York School, New York, Abstract Impressionism, painting, painters, art, artists. Everything, really. Bloody great.
  • David
    O to have been at the Five Spot, with Thelonius Monk at the keyboard (employed again, after the loss of his cabaret card), when Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, and crew came through the door. Mary Gabriel fills in the rich background behind five women of the Abstract Expressionist movement—the poets, playwrights, musicians, composers, and choreographers who mutually influenced them; their husbands and lovers; the critics and gallerists and p...
  • Katherine
    This was the best art history / biography I’ve ever read. The book gives a great overall view of the development of abstract expressionism in the 1940s-50s with a focus on 5 courageous and talented women painters who helped define the genre. Two of them — Lee Krasner and Elaine DeKoonig — married famous men —Jackson Pollock and Bill DeKoonig. Despite their talents they were often regarded as secondary to their spouses. In fact they defini...
  • Peter Landau
    NINTH STREET WOMEN by Mary Gabriel is the opposite of her abstract expressionist subjects. Unlike them, she paints a clear picture of the 20-odd years around the birth, dominance and fall of this American movement, complete with a vast cast of characters, revolving around five female artists who were largely ignored in the development of abstract expressionism or action painting or nonobjective works — whatever you want to call it. The tone is ...
  • Christine
    Over 700 pages of text, plus the forward and intro, and then the acknowledgements, all worth reading! This book was a marathon read and a real escape into the world of the artists who developed the so called "New York School" from the 1930s right up into the sixties and beyond. The author did an amazing research job which includes a healthy dose of primary sources, allowing us to hear the real words of the artists and their friends and families. ...
  • Pamela
    I feel I have climbed a mountain!This is a massive book which covers way more than the title implies. A magnus opus. And the writing is so engaging it doesn't get boring.But could have used editing- could easily have been at least 100 pages shorter. Several storied get repeated- one having to do with WW2 which had nothing to do with the book. The bigger world stuff could have been massively cut down. As could the quotes- the ones at the beginning...
  • Joann Amidon
    This is the best book I have read in a long time and if I could give it ten stars I would. Gabriel takes the reader deep into eleven years of the New York art world, specifically, 1948-1959, introducing many of the artists trying to find their voice, express it and be heard. This was difficult for all artists at that time, but especially for the five women featured in this book. The New York artists were turning the art world on its head and the ...
  • Anne
    This book exhausted me. It was exhaustive in its detail and the strong emotions it depicted. These five women were warriors for their art in a man's world. Each of them gave so much of themselves to their art that they, in essence, gave up on other parts of their lives. The book, of course, covers the men in their lives as painters, as livers and husbands, as friends and as adversaries. It was wonderful to feel so drawn into their lives by the bo...
  • Kimmy
    As my friend said, "This book is my new Bible." I cannot recommend Ninth Street Women highly enough. As one who doesn't consider myself a historical literature reader, Mary Gabriel's vivid portraits of the artists on the New York AbEx scene was captivating. I have rarely read a fiction or nonfiction story that was so engrossing. For any artist, New Yorker or historian in your life, this is a must read.
  • John
    This book deserves a 5 star rating but I am only giving it 3 stars because pages 432 to page 465 are missing in this book. It is part of one chapter and most of another. I'm surprised that no one has commented on this. I have called the publishers but not heard back from them.Just when Frank O'Hara is coming on the scene...
  • Meghan Bailey
    Excellent book, well written, thoroughly researched and full of rich stories about the amazing women artists during abstract expressionism. It’s a long read but worth it. The story kept my attention the entire 700+ pages.
  • Eileen
    So much information! It never felt like a slog really. So many interesting stories and insights into five Artists (who happened to be women) of New York in the 40’s and 50’s. These five women were incredible and brave and talented. I truly enjoyed their stories and I am filled with awe.
  • Maria
    Despite its length, the engaging style makes it a fast read. The author immerses you in the atmosphere of New York from the early 30s through late 50s. Although the focus is on the women, you gain an additional understanding of the men artists of the time as well, who were often influenced by "their" women, despite the heretofore omission in the historical record.
  • Megan
    The longest audiobook I've ever listen to (34+ hours!) and worth every minute of it. This book changed how I saw the 1940-160 era of the New York art scene entirely. Completely enthralling. A must for all creatives.
  • Fran Blake
    Loved this book--rich in detail about so many artists and writers whose work I've followed for years& all of it taking place in neighborhoods I've visited or lived in. Fantastic research and so well written, definitely an award winner!
  • Charles Fried
    Mary Gabriel has completed brilliant work that translates a mind-boggling volume of research into a vivid and eminently readable account of the lives, art and times of these ground-breaking and adventuresome artists, who happened to be women. The broad scope of the book ranges over the broad economic, political, and artistic milieu to provide the very relevant context of the personal lives of these artists as well as their art and the art of thei...
  • Denise
    Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan MItchell, and Helen Frankenthaler; Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art. By Mary GabrielOf all the narrative art histories I have read in the last few years I have never been as excited to turn the pages as I was while reading Ninth Street Women by Mary Gabriel. Ninth Street refers to a time and place in the mythology of the New York art world. All the arti...
  • C.
    "Art serves a social function not unlike religion. For those who are open to it, it speaks directly to that aspect of man that is not beast-like, and stirs the part of modern man that is nearly calcified from neglect, his soul. I often thought, as I wrote, that our own troubled world is sorely lacking in the nutrients that art provides. The stories told in this book might be a reminder that where there is art there is hope."I must admit that I wa...
  • Mark Lisac
    The book is so long, built on layers of massive research, that I will probably never read another by Mary Gabriel. She's taken enough of my time. And yet …There are gaps amid the weight of words. It seems insufficient to say that Lee Krasner and Elaine de Kooning submerged their own careers in favour of promoting their husbands simply out of love and support for genius. Likewise, deliberately casual references to several abortions raise unanswe...
  • Shelley
    DNF. I read up to chapter 26 (of 42) and then skipped ahead to the epilogue. I picked this up from a podcast rec and did not expect it to be 950(!) pages long. I've noticed the absence of female artists in discussions about art and art history, so a part of me really wanted this book to succeed. Unfortunately, I found it unnecessarily detailed (perhaps a little unrealistically so, for a second-hand biography) and the connections tenuous. I think ...
  • scherzo♫
    Hans Hoffman:"Creation is dominated by three absolutely different factors:first, nature which works upon us by its own laws;second, the artist who creates a spiritual contact with nature and its materials;third, the medium of expression through which the artist translates their inner world.The artist's technical problem is then to transform the material with which they work back into the sphere of the spirit."Martha Graham:"You do not realize how...
  • Pixie
    4.5 stars. A necessary corrective for sexist art history and business practices, but it doesn't read as polemical. The author's clear, steady prose made it easy going, like reading an old-fashioned series of biographies marketed for children (I mean this in the best way), except none of the adult subject matter was left out. Of the five featured artists in this book, I definitely came away with a favorite and a least-favorite (although in truth I...
  • Katharine
    “The question of how and why an artist achieves and retains recognition in contemporary America is as complicated as it is tragic, comic and boring” Thomas B Hess 1956Complicated, yes, long, definitely, occasionally comic but really never boring would describe Ninth Street Women, Mary Gabriel’s magisterial account of 5 of the female artists associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement in New York in the 1950s. Lee Krasner, Elaine de ...
  • Alexandra
    So much research must have gone into this. And it was so well written and unflinching.Quotes:"She contracted what friends called 'a bad case of blind devotion'.""The artist does not trade his ideals for success. Martyrs and saints love luxury and success just as much as ordinary people. Only they love something else even more." - John Graham"They had vowed to remain together forever. But in the world they would inherit the notion of forever would...
  • Debbie Hagan
    I have no idea how Mary Gabriel researched and wrote this 944-page book. It's amazing--the story of five great women artists who rose up through the modern art movement: Lee Krasner, Elaine De Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Helen Frankenthaler, and Joan Mitchell. In the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, they worked alongside their male counterparts, dedicated themselves to their art, became innovators. However, their boyfriends, husbands, and male friends scored pr...