Levin deftly connects Krasner’s biography to the social and political upheaval of the time. Her long experience in the art...

First biography of Lee Krasner (1908–1984), Jackson Pollock’s wife but also a significant artist in her own right.

Levin (Art History/Baruch Coll.; Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography, 2007, etc.) links Krasner’s motivations and underlying themes to her Russian Jewish background, though Krasner rejected not only religion, but also nationalism and feminism. The author considered herself part of the Paris School, influenced by Matisse and Picasso, and she was a strong influence on the birth of Abstract Expressionism—even though historians often ignore her impact. Politics played a large role in her life, but she kept them separate from her art. Krasner worked for the WPA Federal Art Project through the 1930s until 1943, and though she called herself a leftist, she never became a communist, saving her from the butchery of the HUAC hearings during the ’50s. When Krasner met Pollock, she was the first to recognize his genius and made sure that he lived up to her expectation that he would make art history. Her art took a back seat to his career, but she never stopped painting. Though she essentially became known just as Pollock’s wife, she still promoted him, protected him, drove him and cosseted him. Krasner and Pollock were among the first to move to Long Island, where both writers and artists came together to form a colony that flourished for years. Living with Pollock was a full-time job, and it took many years before Krasner could finally throw off the comparisons of her work to his. The woman’s movement finally brought recognition, but she only wanted to be known as an artist.

Levin deftly connects Krasner’s biography to the social and political upheaval of the time. Her long experience in the art world gives insight into the landscape of 20th-century artists, art dealers and museums.

Pub Date: March 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-184525-3

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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