ARTCURIOUS by Jennifer Dasal Receives a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly

Curator and ArtCurious podcaster Dasal reveals in this entertaining survey the weird, wacky, and unbelievable backstories of some of the world’s greatest artists and most famous works of art. Evolving out of her podcast, the book delivers on its promise to “share fascinating narratives of art, artists, and how our world has been affected by them in strange, unexpected ways.” Revealing the often scandalous side of art, Dasal describes the moxie and rule-breaking of Claude Monet (1840–1926) and the Impressionists, who turned the art world on its head simply by painting outdoors; and how the CIA employed Abstract Expressionism to covertly advance American ideals during the Cold War. She also considers whether British painter Walter Sickert (1860–1942) was actually the notorious killer Jack the Ripper; documents how illustrator Norman Rockwell created some of the most indelible images of the civil rights era (as in his 1965 painting Murder in Mississippi); examines various forgeries of the Mona Lisa; explains how artists, such as Leonardo in 1510s Milan, obtained corpses through doctors for anatomical studies; and investigates whether a German Baroness actually conceived Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 Fountain masterpiece. Both art aficionados and novices will find something to appreciate in this offbeat and informative outing.

ArtCurious: Stories of the Unexpected, Slightly Odd, and Strangely Wonderful Art History by Jennifer Dasal will be published on September 15, 2020 by Penguin Books in North America.

Jennifer Dasal is the curator of modern and contemporary art at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the host of the independent podcast ArtCurious, which she started in 2016 and which was named one of the best podcasts by O, The Oprah Magazine and PC Magazine. She holds an MA in art history from the University of Notre Dame and a BA in art history from the University of California, Davis. She has also completed PhD coursework in art history at Pennsylvania State University. She lectures frequently on art both locally and nationally.