Growing Up Among Artists in the Heyday of Abstract Expressionism

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gabrielle Selz grew up in New York, where her father, Peter Selz, was chief curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art. She talks about spending her childhood among art and artists in the heyday of Abstract Expressionism, in a home full of the most celebrated artists of the day: Rothko, de Kooning, Tinguely, Giacometti, and Christo, among others. Her new book Unstill Life: A Daughter's Memoir of Art and Love in the Age of Abstraction offers a window into the glamor and destruction of the times: the gallery openings, wild parties and affairs that defined one of the most celebrated periods in American art history.

Unstill Life by Gabrielle Selz
Unstill Life by Gabrielle Selz




Gabrielle Selz

Comments [4]

Hi Mary Senn,
Thank you for your comment. I will pass on your request to Dad, but I think it would be a rather biased autobiography.

Hi Tom from Astoria,
You bring up a good point. Though I love the AbEx painters, I do think that their renowned has overshadowed significant American Art that was going on before and during that period. I know the Whitney almost always has a Hopper on view. The Whitney, of course, owns THE MAJOR SELECTION of his work, not MoMA. This may be why you see the work at The Whitney and not a MoMA. And the Met has a great early American wing where you can see Sheelers and Hoppers, John Marin and the delightful Florine Stettheimer.

Aug. 13 2014 09:34 AM
Mary S. Senn from Evanston, Illinois

Because of my husband and I having been close friends with Gaby's dad and mom at the U of Chicago when we were all students, I read her book with great interest. Though we lived many miles apart, over the years I have watched his career as a sort of Peter-fan. I think this book gives a fair and really loving portrait of the one of the most interesting people in the world. One could wish he had written his own autobiography to complement the daughter's picture. I wish her well in her own admirable career.

Aug. 13 2014 12:27 AM
tom from astoria

Did your guest know Charles Sheeler, Hopper, Henri, John Slone?

It's sad to think of all these parties going on and Edward Hopper sitting alone in his Washington Square studio. Isn't his art modern, too?

Aug. 12 2014 12:57 PM
tom from astoria

During the same time that AbEx painters were in their heyday, Edward Hopper was creating some great modern masterpieces. WHY is it that the realists like Hopper and Sheeler are not PERMANENTLY on display at MoMA?

Aug. 12 2014 12:51 PM

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