An original and stimulating memoir that takes readers into the mind and heart of an artist.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017



In this debut chronicle, an abstract painter offers a vivid look into a working studio and the development of his own artistic vision.

To many nonartists, abstract art may seem to be the most inaccessible of all forms, as it often lacks familiar images to cling to. To Rutenberg, however, abstraction represents a way of bringing the world up-close, so that one not only sees, but feels its integral parts. “Art happens,” Rutenberg states, “when the intellectual and the visceral collide so violently that they fuse into a third thing.” His love of art is palpable in this book, which serves as a companion piece to his YouTube series, “Brian Rutenberg Studio Visits.” He only sparsely describes the events of his own life, but he lavishly and lovingly dissects his growth as an artist, from his childhood compositions, created out of marsh mud and colored paper on hot summer days on the South Carolina coast, to later canvases that he stabbed with an ice pick in his loft studio in Manhattan. Alongside this deeply personal story, Rutenberg also offers a down-to-earth course on the transcendent power of art, presenting a wide range of examples, including works by Pablo Picasso and pianist Glenn Gould. The text is peppered with memorable passages, such as “All artists live in the gap between what they imagine and produce,” “When the effortless appears difficult, it’s entertainment. When the difficult appears effortless, it’s art,” and “An artist’s job is to monkey with stuff. We don’t seek solutions but problems. We play because we can.” Rutenberg’s love of his work is infectious, and his analyses of artistic issues are engaging and appealing, never indulging in the elitism that some may associate with the world of fine art. His delight in his chosen craft also counters the myth of the tortured artist, although a slightly less rosy perspective and a few more details about life’s challenges might have added a welcome touch of realism. All in all, however, it’s an exhilarating treatise on how to really “see” the world.

An original and stimulating memoir that takes readers into the mind and heart of an artist.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9974423-0-4

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Permanent Green

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

Did you like this book?

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?