In Lesson in Red, Maggie Richter, who turned from a writer to a researcher in Maria Hammel’s 2018 novel Still Lives, returns to Los Angeles to delve into the death of an up-and-coming artist at a local art school. But you don’t have to read “Still Lives,” a selection from Reese’s Book Club. Now you can dive into Hummel’s latest mystery from Counterpoint.
“I love the Mystery series. As I continue to walk, grow and change with them, I can learn more about the characters,” says writer Hummel on the Vermont phone. “For Maggie, that was definitely a goal.”
Hummel also wanted to “change the lens” in her second Maggie Richter mystery. Where “Still Lives” focuses on museums, “Lesson in Red” is directed to art schools and gallery shows, and the tragedy of young artist Brenae Brasil sheds light on the privileges and sexual assault of the art world.
Hummel, a professor at the University of Vermont, wrote “Lesson in Red” during a hearing at Brett Kavanaugh. She remembers watching the hearing, looking out the window of the office on campus and noticing a young woman outside the green.
“I can remember a lot about the horror I felt as a college woman, the different kinds of horror, and how many nights I spent so much that I felt like one on on on a lot of money. “It’s now,” she recalls. “It was in my head, this national issue was clearly underway, and then my own memory continued.”
“I also wanted to write about mentorship in art history,” she continues. “For women, it’s often complicated to have a relationship as a male muse and want to be your own artist, but it’s very difficult to get yourself out of other roles. And take it seriously. “
She spins these very contemporary feminist themes into a story that is still in the tradition of Los Angeles Noire. Hummel, who lived in Los Angeles from 2001 to 2005, says he liked reading Raymond Chandler’s novels when he first moved to Los Angeles. “I’ve always been fascinated by such a stylized world of Noir,” she says. Still, she adds, “I felt I needed a more modern lens for some of the same issues that lived in some of his books.”
Set in 2003, Hummel depicts LA, where downtown is beginning to flourish as the 21st cultural hub and the world of art is flourishing. This setting is also consistent with the artist’s own stay in the city, who worked as a writer at the Museum of Contemporary Art. She explains that it is an interesting time for discussions about the future of art institutions. “At the same time, money was really flowing into the contemporary art market,” she says. It all helps shape novels where class privileges also affect the status of the artist.
“Some artists were relatively young and already expensive,” Hummel recalls when he observed the world of art. “But there were a lot of people who really struggled to make something and wanted someone to see their slides.”
Hummel thought about the cost of becoming an artist. Maintaining studio space and stockpiles can be expensive. “If you don’t get the right reputation in graduate school, it’s going to be really hard,” she says. She’s like watching the “Prince and the Poor” play from time to time, with one artist getting a lot of money and another spending months on something that might be great but not noticed. ..
“There are many MFA programs and many graduate each year. There is really no room for everyone to succeed.” Hummel said, “Still, it is a kind of feudal system that fosters ambition.” Stated.
However, the location of “Lesson in Red” is fictitious. “I didn’t want anyone to draw the exact line between what I wrote in the book and what’s in downtown,” says Hummel. Moreover, the issues addressed in the novel are systematic, and sexual assault on campus is certainly not unique to art schools. Hummel points out that just a week before the interview, students from the University of Vermont were gathering to protest the school’s response to the sexual assault case.
For readers who are obsessed with the mysteries of Hummel’s art world, there may be even more mysteries. Hummel says he currently has a third book, the “skeleton.”
Mysterious death in LA’s art world begins investigating the mystery novel “Lesson in Red” –
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