A treasure trove for fans of the New Yorker, political satire, and graphic design.

BLITT

Indelible images from one of America’s leading political cartoonists.

Though he claims that “my comprehension of politics was and remains superficial,” Blitt’s (The Founding Fathers!, 2016, etc.) magazine covers, especially for the New Yorker, have not only spurred considerable dialogue in the culture at large, but also helped frame the dialogue in American political discourse. There was the image of the Obamas giving each other fist bumps while dressed in terrorist garb; the one with the Monty Python–esque “silly walks” showing Brits walking off the cliff with Brexit; and the flooding of the Bush cabinet in the wake of Hurricane Katrina—not to mention the many involving the 2016 election of Trump in general, who has been the gift that keeps on giving. How does Blitt do it? He does his best to explain, showing his drafting table and sheets covered with inkblots. He offers a “neurotic’s diary,” the daily routine, and he provides revelatory glimpses of the process, the sketches, and drafts preceding the finished illustration. He also inventories the “tools of the trade”—not only the array of artistic supplies, but a pharmacy’s worth of prescribed medications. So here you have everything that goes into a Blitt cartoon, but unless you are Blitt, you will never achieve what he does with those ingredients. He admits that not even he knows how he does what he does or even exactly what a powerful image might mean. But accompanying these illustrations is plenty of testimony on what sets him apart. Frank Rich praises “the spontaneity, grace, and power of Barry’s art,” which often accompanied the columnist’s Sunday pieces for the New York Times. “Paying attention to small details, Blitt manages to make points about big issues,” says Francoise Mouly, the New Yorker’s art editor. Many of these illustrations remain fresh in memory, though the tossed-off sketches and previously unpublished work are every bit as illuminating.

A treasure trove for fans of the New Yorker, political satire, and graphic design.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-57666-9

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

HUMANS OF NEW YORK

STORIES

Photographer and author Stanton returns with a companion volume to Humans of New York (2013), this one with similarly affecting photographs of New Yorkers but also with some tales from his subjects’ mouths.

Readers of the first volume—and followers of the related site on Facebook and elsewhere—will feel immediately at home. The author has continued to photograph the human zoo: folks out in the streets and in the parks, in moods ranging from parade-happy to deep despair. He includes one running feature—“Today in Microfashion,” which shows images of little children dressed up in various arresting ways. He also provides some juxtapositions, images and/or stories that are related somehow. These range from surprising to forced to barely tolerable. One shows a man with a cat on his head and a woman with a large flowered headpiece, another a construction worker proud of his body and, on the facing page, a man in a wheelchair. The emotions course along the entire continuum of human passion: love, broken love, elation, depression, playfulness, argumentativeness, madness, arrogance, humility, pride, frustration, and confusion. We see varieties of the human costume, as well, from formalwear to homeless-wear. A few celebrities appear, President Barack Obama among them. The “stories” range from single-sentence comments and quips and complaints to more lengthy tales (none longer than a couple of pages). People talk about abusive parents, exes, struggles to succeed, addiction and recovery, dramatic failures, and lifelong happiness. Some deliver minirants (a neuroscientist is especially curmudgeonly), and the children often provide the most (often unintended) humor. One little boy with a fishing pole talks about a monster fish. Toward the end, the images seem to lead us toward hope. But then…a final photograph turns the light out once again.

A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05890-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A fascinating, major work that will spark endless debates.

WARHOL

An epic cradle-to-grave biography of the king of pop art from Gopnik (co-author: Warhol Women, 2019), who served as chief art critic for the Washington Post and the art and design critic for Newsweek.

With a hoarder’s zeal, Andy Warhol (1928-1987) collected objects he liked until shopping bags filled entire rooms of his New York town house. Rising to equal that, Gopnik’s dictionary-sized biography has more than 7,000 endnotes in its e-book edition and drew on some 100,000 documents, including datebooks, tax returns, and letters to lovers and dealers. With the cooperation of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the author serves up fresh details about almost every aspect of Warhol’s life in an immensely enjoyable book that blends snappy writing with careful exegeses of the artist’s influences and techniques. Warhol exploded into view in his mid-40s with his pop art paintings of Campbell’s Soup cans and silkscreens of Elvis and Marilyn. However, fame didn’t banish lifelong anxieties heightened by an assassination attempt that left him so fearful he bought bulletproof eyeglasses. After the pop successes, Gopnik writes, Warhol’s life was shaped by a consuming desire “to climb back onto that cutting edge,” which led him to make experimental films, launch Interview magazine, and promote the Velvet Underground. At the same time, Warhol yearned “for fine, old-fashioned love and coupledom,” a desire thwarted by his shyness and his awkward stance toward his sexuality—“almost but never quite out,” as Gopnik puts it. Although insightful in its interpretations of Warhol’s art, this biography is sure to make waves with its easily challenged claims that Warhol revealed himself early on “as a true rival of all the greats who had come before” and that he and Picasso may now occupy “the top peak of Parnassus, beside Michelangelo and Rembrandt and their fellow geniuses.” Any controversy will certainly befit a lodestar of 20th-century art who believed that “you weren’t doing much of anything as an artist if you weren’t questioning the most fundamental tenets of what art is and what artists can do.”

A fascinating, major work that will spark endless debates.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-229839-3

Page Count: 976

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more