Unstill Life: A Daughter’s Memoir of Art and Love in the Age of Abstraction

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Gabrielle Selz grew up in a home full of the most celebrated artists of the 1960s and 1970s: Rothko, de Kooning, Tinguely, Giacometti, and Christo. Her father, Peter Selz, was the chief curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in the heyday of Abstract Expressionism. Selz’s father was vibrant and freewheeling, but his enthusiasm for both women and art took its toll on their family life. When her father left to direct his own museum in California, going on to marry four more times, Selz’s mother, writer Thalia Selz, moved with her children into the utopian artist community of Westbeth. Still, her parents continued a tumultuous affair that would last forty years.

Weaving her family narrative into the larger story of twentieth-century art and culture, Selz paints an unforgettable portrait of a charismatic man, the generation of modern artists he championed, and the daughter whose life he shaped.

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