Description

In this riveting biography, acclaimed author Mary Gabriel chronicles the meteoric rise and enduring influence of the woman who may be the greatest pop icon of the modern era: Madonna.

With her arrival on the music scene in the early 1980s, Madonna generated nothing short of an explosion—as great as that of Elvis or the Beatles or Michael Jackson—taking the nation by storm with her liberated politics and breathtaking talent. Within two years of her 1983 debut album, a shopping mall in California was nicknamed “The Madonna Mall” because it was overrun with “Material Girls.” Later that year, the flagship Macy's store in Manhattan held a Madonna lookalike contest featuring Andy Warhol as a judge, and opened a department called “Madonna-land.”

But Madonna was more than just a pop star. Everywhere, fans gravitated to her as an emblem of a new age, one in which feminism could shed the buttoned-down demeanor of the '60s and '70s and feel relevant to a new generation. Even as she topped charts again and again, Madonna matured as an artist, taking strides forward with every album and creating provocative, visionary music, videos, and live performances. She brought queer identities into the mainstream, fiercely defending a person's right to love whomever—and be whoever—they wanted. And, despite fierce criticism, she never separated her music from her political activism.

Deftly tracing Madonna’s story from her Michigan roots to her rise to super-stardom, from her years of struggle to find her artistic voice to her larger-than-life concerts for hundreds of millions of fans all over the world, master biographer Mary Gabriel captures the dramatic life and achievements of one of the greatest musical artists of our time.

What's Inside

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Praise

Praise for Ninth Street Women:

"A gorgeous and unsettling narrative...Ninth Street Women is supremely gratifying, generous, and lush but also tough and precise -- in other words, as complicated and capacious as the lives it depicts...It's as if once Gabriel got started, the canvas before her opened up new vistas. We should be grateful she yielded to its possibilities."—Jennifer Szalai, New York Times
"Ninth Street Women is like a great, sprawling Russian novel, filled with memorable characters and sharply etched scenes. It's no mean feat to breathe life into five very different and very brave women, none of whom gave a whit about conventional mores. But Ms. Gabriel fleshes out her portraits with intimate details, astute analyses of the art and good old-fashioned storytelling."—Ann Landi, Wall Street Journal
"Ninth Street Women is a must read...Gabriel seamlessly weaves the intimate and the public, the lives and the art, making us feel we were there...It is a story that is a part of the American story, told here in vivid, meaningful detail, an absolutely pivotal text."—Margaret Randall, Women's Review of Books
"Gabriel's fascinating group portrait shimmers with vivid personal detail...She traces their interwoven paths from studio to Cedar Bar to the Eight Street loft known as the Club...Over time, Willem de Kooning outshone Elaine; Jackson Pollock eclipsed Krasner. Key contributions were erased...Gabriel makes sure these major artists who have been written out of history are not forgotten."—Jane Ciabattari, BBC.com
"Masterful. Mixing critical insight with juicy storytelling, Mary Gabriel brings five brilliant female painters to the fore of the art revolution that cut a wide swath in postwar America."—Patricia Albers, author of Joan Mitchell: Lady Painter
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