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Virtual Book Club – Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency by Olivia Laing

In 2020, the monthly Book Club at the MFA discussions are centered on topical issues and themes universal to all: empowerment, artistic and creative excellence, and the push for equality for all.
July’s selection is Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency by Olivia Laing. This online Book Club is free, but registration is required as spaces are limited to facilitate discussion. Register by clicking here.

Funny Weather brings together a wide-ranging selection of her essays on art and culture, and their roles in our political and social lives. Featuring profiles of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Georgia O’Keeffe, love letters to David Bowie and Wolfgang Tillmans, and deft explorations of loneliness amidst a technological boom; women and alcohol; and sex and the body, Laing celebrates the role art plays in contemporary society.

Olivia Laing grew up in the south of England and acquired a degree in herbal medicine in 2003 before working as an editor and journalist in 2007 at The Observer. Laing published her first book in 2011, To the River: A Journey Beneath the Surface, focusing on the relation of place and the past. In 2013, Laing published The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking and in 2014, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone, where she discusses contemporary themes of creativity and loneliness. Each of her works has been acclaimed for her creative and explorative voice connecting the personal and the political. This intersection can be seen most vividly in her latest book Crudo (2017). Laing is known for her wide range of writing and intersectional discourses on the arts, environmental themes, and examining collective and individual world-making through narrative. Embracing different art forms and personal storytelling into her work creates a variety of experimental pieces that do not wish to separate art from the political. As a widely commended critic, she has been awarded the Windham-Campbell Prize for non-fiction in 2018 and is currently a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Laing continues to produce writings, blending genres of fiction, biography, and criticism to create original contemporary work.

July’s book selection is available at our Book Club partner Tombolo Books and other retailers.


Every day, even while our doors are closed, we are “open” online.  Since the MFA doors temporarily closed, so many of you have asked how you can help during this critical time. Here are a few ways you can support your museum today:


Event Details

July 9, 2020

6:30–7:30 pm

Event Categories

Online via Zoom

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