Many of you know that I love art history and deeply enjoy reading about the artists who made history. Earlier in the year I had a number of you reach out to me and recommend that I pick up Ninth Street Women, a new book that tells the story of five women who were fundamental in shaping Abstract Expressionism, but who have been neglected by art history.
I was hesitant at first because I’ve already read and learned so much about this period, but as the recommendations kept coming in I finally decided I better see why this book was receiving so much attention. I picked up a copy and am so glad I did. Ninth Street Women opened up a whole new understanding of the period for me.
In this episode of RedDot Podcast, I’m joined by the author of Ninth Street Women, Mary Gabriel. In the book Mary tells the fascinating story of Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler. Mary’s book is captivating – epic in its story, intimate in its details. In our discussion, Mary tells how she came to write the book, and gives an introduction to the story of the struggles and triumphs of these five amazing women.
Pick up your copy of Ninth Street Women on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller!
Have you Read Ninth Street Women?
Share your thoughts about the book and my interview with Mary Gabriel in the comments below!
congratulations jason. fantastic podcast interview on a great time and great book jason! thank you.
Good timing! I just downloaded this book onto my iPad this week. Great to hear the author discuss the book and the stories of the artists. I’m even more anxious to start reading.
I am a believer in the power of artists creating within a strong art community supporting each other!
And don’t get me started about how the value of a woman’s artwork is perceived.
Thank you for sharing such a fine interview. Your questions were very good and Mary’s answers were very informative about the time period and the challenges of that day for women who chose to be artist.
I will buy this book.
I enjoyed the interview with Mary Gabriel enormously and have ordered her book, “Ninth Street Women.” I can’t wait for it to arrive. Thanks, Jason, for bringing this author and her books to my attention.
As Jason sums up, the 45-minute Mary Gabriel interview only just scratched the surface… indeed, not only is the book more than 700 pages (with 200 pages of notes) the audible version lasts, according to one of my Instagram artist friends, for 37 hours! Despite the length, though, Mary Gabriel’s writing style, descriptive richness and historical detail is fully absorbing with the reader always wanting to know what happens next.
But that aside, it was a very interesting interview and one that I would have perhaps appreciated more before reading the book last year… maybe I would have read it with Mary’s American accent in my head to add to the flavour. However, as I am now half way through her “Love and Capital” I’m better off mentally adopting the Paris and Bruxelles ambiance I’m more used to as a regular visitor.
Loved the book and really enjoyed this podcast. It seems to me that the camaraderie that was so nurturing to these artists is much more difficult to achieve today, partly because there are so many artists and we are so spread out, rather than in a centralized geographic community. And, the focus IS now on sales, rather than simply creating, because we must support ourselves in a competitive, capitalist economy (and certainly no WP assistance.)
Wow, this was an amazing interview. I have to thank you and congratulate you for doing the interview. Mary Gabriel’s first hand and personal account of the actual history of the time, the movement and the artists involved was stunning. Her openness and willingness to speak truth was refreshing and so interesting. I could not stop listening. Thank you again for sharing such an insightful look into the lives of these extraordinary women.
I really appreciate the art history once again. It really resonated with me about working alone in my studio and having no one to discuss the artworks with. Art is a lonely and isolated profession. I live how they solved the problem. Thanks for bringing this book to light. I look forward to reading it.
~ “Fantastic” interview! . . . Mary Gabriel’s published work is a ‘gift’ to ALL women in the Mid-Century American Arts and in the political ‘culture’ we now live in! ~ Thanks Jason for sharing this! . . .
Thanks, I was looking for a new book to read. May I suggest another great woman in art, Beatrice Wood. Her book is a remarkable journey in the art world during the Dada heyday in Paris then during the War in America. “Pals” with Duchamp and Picabia she rode the frontier of women in art. The book, “I Shock Myself: Beatrice Wood, Career Woman of Art” as a wonderment to read and enjoy.
Such a great book! I got it on your recommendation when this post first come out and I loved it. Thanks for the review.
The comment about Beatrice Wood’s book is spot on too. I got to meet her and have my copy signed many years ago. I’m a true fan of hers.
The book was spellbinding and wonderful to read. Following that, I saw the Joan Mitchell exhibit at the SF MOMA and experienced her very large pieces in person. And now the interview helped me understand the lives of these amazing women. Thank you for doing it!
I do miss the camaraderie of artists, especially the small group I was part of but no longer since I moved. Artists need to talk to each other. So maybe there’s a group here where I live. I hope so!
I’ve moved a lot and have only once experienced being on the edges of a group.
I do feel the need for artist camaraderie and DISCUSSION. I now feel ready to look for others in this Metroplex area.
Thanks for bringing this up! It was the nudge I needed to act.
Thank you for doing this podcast. I read this book just this past winter. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Mary weaves a story steeped in history. It gives the reader a depth of meaning to the lives of the artists of that time. I read it because I admire that period of art history and the paintings that evolved from it. Helen Frankenthaler has long inspired me.
The takeaway for me was that being an artist is a worthy goal. I had been questioning whether it was a selfish pursuit or one worthy of dedicating time and life to. I came away with a new resolve that it is a worthwhile goal. The women artists in this book never questioned their decision to be an artist. They experienced periods of depression and doubts but always remained faithful to the work.
Anyway, thank you for taking us into the workings of the author behind the book. I very much enjoyed hearing her talk about it.
After watching the video on Pollock´s mural that you shared with us, I actually went to this book to re-read the section on Lee Krasner as a way to complement the viewing of the video and to refresh my memory on the kind of constant support she was to her husband during his career.
I read the book few years ago- I was fascinated by the life stories of these women and their courage to pursue their artistic vision in spite of absence of women artists recognition within the art world. Even though progress has been made in this area, women artists continue to be under recognized in the art market- unfortunately.
Thank you Jason for the interviewing Gabriel. For me was interesting to hear where she was coming from in writing the book and her research writing process. I also became aware of your podcast! which I am now following. Thank you again.
Listening to this, I realize just how little I know about art history. Thanks, Jason!