SHAC Book Club: ArtCurious by Jennifer Dasal

From guest writer: Kristina Aaronson

Was the artist Walter Sickert, really Jack the Ripper?  Why did Norman Rockwell provoke his traditional, conservative audiences with the shocking masterpiece, Murder inMississippi?  Is the Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum, a copy or the real one? Did Vincent Van Gogh commit suicide or was he murdered?  What happened to Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi painting that was sold for $179.4 million to an anonymous buyer, and has never been seen since?

ARTCURIOUS book cover

These are questions Jennifer Dasal researches and writes about in her book ARTCURIOUS; Stories of the UNEXPECTED Slightly Odd, and Strangely Wonderful in Art History.  Dasal is the creator and host of the podcast ARTCURIOUS. Meeting her live on a screen at the Asheville Art Museum book discussion, was delightful. In addition to her art history degrees, and experience as an museum curator at the North Carolina Art Museum, Jennifer Dasal is a storyteller and an outstanding public speaker. There is nothing dry and boring about her book or her podcast. Her goal is to bring the world of art and artists to a level of enjoyment for everyone.

Researching the less well known facts about the lives of familiar artists, Dasal sets out to answer questions like those posed above. Each chapter is documented in the Bibliography at the end of the book.  She leaves the conclusion in each chapter up to the reader so that there is plenty of “food for thought” after having finished the book. On the first Wednesday of each month, the Asheville Art Museum offers a book discussion for museum members that relates to artworks and the art world. The monthly book selection is posted in advance on the Asheville Art Museum Discussion Bound website.

I am still mulling over the question of Spiritualism in the nineteenth century and what influence it may have had on art history. Was a German Baroness responsible for a Marcel Duchamp masterpiece of a urinal which he called Fountain?  Jennifer Dasal shows us that art is not always boring but is exactly what we need to make our lives more colorful.
Asheville Art Museum provides classes, lectures and a book club for adults and special programs for families and children.