About A Complicated Marriage: My Life with Clement Greenberg• Paperback: 352 pages
• Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Love, marriage, the New York art world, and a wife’s self-discovery.
A rare opportunity to experience the explosive and history-making New York art world of the 1950s thru the eyes of the young bride of Clement Greenberg, America’s most influential art writer. In 1955, after meeting Clem at a party, 21-year-old Janice—who knows nothing about art—is soon catapulted into the inner circle of her husband’s world where she is surrounded by such larger-than-life personalities as Jackson Pollock, David Smith, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline….
More a witness than a participant, in time Janice begins the slow struggle to regain her sense of self as she steps beyond the ‘50s traditions of wife and mother in search of worlds of her own. Her journey takes us inside the experimental theater of OOB and the Actors Studio in the ‘60s, into the Madison Avenue men’s world of advertising, and the feminist movement of the ‘70s, to bi-coastal playwright in the ‘80s, to caregiver and widow in the ‘90s, and currently to book editor and writer.
Even as the country was changing during these heady decades, Janice was changing, and the marriage as well–from monogamy to a mutually compatible open marriage, and in the late ‘70s from a mutually compatible divorce to remarriage (to each other). Beautifully written with humor and deeply felt honesty, A Complicated Marriage is an enduring love story that, as it draws back the curtain on the art scene and its iconic players, explores a woman’s self-discovery and redefines the meaning of a “good marriage.”
Janice Van Horne's memoir is a fascinating look in the world of art as seen through her eyes and through the eyes and influence of her husband, art critic Clement Greenberg. But it is also a wonderful story of a young woman finding her own identity beyond that of her husband during the blossoming time of the women's movement up to present times. She was a force to reckon with in both the theatrical world and literary circles.
Van Horne's remembrances are intriguing to read, and are filled with both humor and a touch of sadness throughout. She's an amazing woman and her life experiences are enthralling. A very enjoyable read.
About Janice Van Horne:
JANICE VAN HORNE was born in New York City and raised in the suburb of Rye.
She graduated from Bennington College in 1955 and moved to New York where she met and married the well-know art writer, Clement Greenberg, in 1956. After their daughter was born, Janice began her career path in the 1960s as an actress, performing with a multitude of the OOB theaters and performance groups of that time, and studying with the renowned Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. In 1974 she co-founded and was editor-in-chief of the successful Madison Avenue Magazine. Later, in the 1980s, she returned to the theater, this time as a playwright. Her work has been seen in many productions, primarily in Los Angeles and New York.
After her husband’s death in 1994, Janice focused on editing two volumes of his work which she assembled from materials in his archive at the Getty Research Library in Los Angeles: Homemade Esthetics (New York Times 1999 Notable Book of the Year); and in 2000, The Harold Letters (1928-1943): The making of a young intellectual, based on letters from Clem to his best friend from college as he struggled to follow his passion through the depths of the Depression. In 2004, Janice began to tell her own story in her memoir, A Complicated Marriage: My life with Clement Greenberg, which was published in 2012.
Today, Janice lives in the apartment on Central Park West in New York City that she and her husband moved into in 1960. Her daughter Sarah, son-in-law Matthew, and two granddaughters, Clementine and Roxanna, live in Brooklyn, NY.
Find out more about Janice at her website, www.acomplicatedmarriage.com.
Janice’s TLC Book Tour StopsTuesday, May 14th: Turn the Page
Wednesday, May 15th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Thursday, May 16th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, May 20th: Dreaming in Books
Thursday, May 23rd: I’m Booking It
Tuesday, May 28th: A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
Wednesday, May 29th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, May 30th: The Book Wheel
Thursday, June 6th: Reviewing Shelf
Tuesday, June 11th: The Relentless Reader
Wednesday, June 12th: Worducopia
Thursday, June 13th: River City Reading
Monday, June 17th: Dwell in Possibility
Wednesday, June 19th: Kelly’s [Former] France Blog
Wednesday, June 26th: Buried in Print
My thanks to TLC Book Tours for including me on this blog tour and for supplying the review copy of this book. I was not compensated for my opinion.