Urinals, anthropomorphic instruments from hell, Jack the Ripper’s art career, museum heists, Andy Warhol’s 610 time capsules, and Monet’s cataracts—oh, my! From cover to cover, ArtCurious is a delightful dive into the quirky lore and contentious tales of art history. It’s all the mesmerizing bits that my college courses left out. Dasal, with her robust background in art curation and podcasting, debunks the myth that art history is boring, and her writing is approachable for budding and experienced art historians alike.
A wildly entertaining and surprisingly educational dive into art history as you've never seen it before, from the host of the beloved ArtCurious podcast
We're all familiar with the works of Claude Monet, thanks in no small part to the ubiquitous reproductions of his water lilies on umbrellas, handbags, scarves, and dorm-room posters. But did you also know that Monet and his cohort were trailblazing rebels whose works were originally deemed unbelievably ugly and vulgar? And while you probably know the tale of Vincent van Gogh's suicide, you may not be aware that there's pretty compelling evidence that the artist didn't die by his own hand but was accidentally killed--or even murdered. Or how about the fact that one of Andy Warhol's most enduring legacies involves Caroline Kennedy's moldy birthday cake and a collection of toenail clippings?
ArtCurious is a colorful look at the world of art history, revealing some of the strangest, funniest, and most fascinating stories behind the world's great artists and masterpieces. Through these and other incredible, weird, and wonderful tales, ArtCurious presents an engaging look at why art history is, and continues to be, a riveting and relevant world to explore.
About the Author
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.
Praise for ArtCurious
“Awfully fun to read . . . written with well-researched precision but also a prominent sense of humor.” —The News & Observer
“Jennifer Dasal understands that it's the stories that make art interesting, not names and dates and movements. This book is bursting with useful and entertaining tales that will forever change the way you look at some of the world's best loved artworks.” —Sarah Urist Green, author of You Are an Artist
“The term ‘art history’ is often equated with a good cure for insomnia—well, this book won’t let that happen! Jennifer Dasal has transformed ‘art history’ into ‘you will not believe this,’ one crazy, artsy story at a time.” —Danielle Krysa, The Jealous Curator
“For all those who remember—yawning—the tedium of art history lectures in dark classrooms, Jennifer Dasal’s Artcurious is here to shake you awake, open your eyes, and get your heart racing. This is art history as adventure, mystery, whodunnit, and even comedy. In short, a passionate pursuit of the innately interesting. You’ll never look at art—or art history—the same way again.” —Bridget Quinn, author of She Votes
“ArtCurious unspools like a juicy novel, detailing the backstories of several art history notables, their families, mentors, fellow artists, lovers and more . . . Dasal writes with humor and honesty, offering truth mixed with speculation . . . All this adds up to a fascinating, lively take on a topic that is too often reduced to dry facts. Art history buffs or anyone who likes a good thriller will find ArtCurious a welcome escape.” —BookPage
“Lively, accessible, and engaging . . . As Dasal observes, ‘art isn’t (always) boring. Sometimes it’s exactly what we need to make our lives more colorful.’ This volume will certainly do that for casual museum-goers, art aficionados, and the just plain curious.” —Booklist
“A wildly entertaining and surprisingly educational dive into art history as you've never seen it before, from the host of the beloved ArtCurious podcast.” —Shelf Awareness
“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. . . . Both art aficionados and novices will find something to appreciate in this offbeat and informative outing.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)