Life in the Abstract

When a clan of artists, agents, gallery owners and models gather to celebrate their matriarch's birthday the possibilities are endless. Love affairs, lusty engagements and family conflict over the state of art are the order of the day.

For figural artist Nick Casura it is truly the best and worst of times. His latest show, "Tribecca Nudes" is a critical smash and an opening night sellout. The women in town are divided into equal camps; wanting his body, his work or his child. Everything's coming up roses—complete with thorns.

The bad news is that he has a terminal case of "how do I top this." Everything he's painting looks to him like the inside wall of a Port-a-San. To add to his problems, his family is having a reunion for his mother's fiftieth birthday, which wouldn't be too terrible—if it weren't at his father's country studio.

Nick's father is Victor Casura, icon of the American School of Abstract Expressionism, a universally acclaimed modern master and a vitriolic critic of anything even vaguely resembling figural painting.

It's a battle they've conducted since Nick's childhood, one that he does not look forward to repeating because he instinctively knows it will never end.

Nick will go, of course, accompanied by his sister Kate, a brilliant photographer whose light has been seriously obscured by the glittering careers of the men in the family.

When they arrive the expected presence of old friends is more than balanced by the unexpected arrival of Victor's second wife, Broadway musical star, Lily Colton, as well as their mother's current swain, German billionaire Gunter Stock. It's apparent that Gunter's prime reason for attendance is to guard Anita from what he perceives to be Victor's romantic intentions.

The family circle enlarges as oldest sibling Bobby arrives—without his bitter ex-wife but with their two daughters. Lily has brought Paul, a handsome publisher who immediately gravitates toward Kate.

Complimenting this group are Erin, Victor's beautiful protégée, Lily's daughter Daisy and her friend Meret who have been in attendance for a couple of weeks and don't seem eager to say why.

The party progresses, battles are fought over fidelity, familial ties and the state of art. Romances are started, thwarted or consummated while old relationships falter and new ones emerge from the tangled web of family and friends.

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