O'KEEFFE

THE LIFE OF AN AMERICAN LEGEND

Following Roxana Robinson's Georgia O'Keeffe (1989) and Benita Eisler's O'Keeffe and Stieglitz (1991) comes another lengthy biography of America's most persistently scrutinized woman artist. What Hogrefe (Wholly Unacceptable, 1986) has to add to the O'Keeffe file is his access to Juan Hamilton, the artist's controversial, decades-younger, opportunistic companion who inherited a fortune after fighting with O'Keeffe's relatives over her estate. While insisting that ``this is not...Hamilton's book,'' Hogrefe starts with Hamilton, who ``arrived in New Mexico's high desert'' with a ``premonition'' that the elderly O'Keeffe, by then ``successful beyond the dreams of most women and men,'' needed him. At this point, the author, who later rips into O'Keeffe's carefully constructed persona, seems to be weaving more myth. (Is this perhaps because Hogrefe met O'Keeffe at a party in New Jersey in the early 80's and was dazzled by her ``obvious and occult'' smile?) Hogrefe's report on O'Keeffe's final years amounts to accumulated detail rather than enlightenment: You won't find out if or how Hamilton influenced the blind artist to change her will. In covering the rest of the now-familiar O'Keeffe story—from Wisconsin (born in 1887) to teaching in Texas to her notorious alliance with Alfred Stieglitz and her move to the Southwest- -Hogrefe hypes certain aspects of the artist's sometimes troubled inner self beyond what the evidence suggests: ``Rumbling beneath the surface are the weightier issues of repressed homosexuality, incest-induced rage, madness, coercion and deceit.'' For a more balanced and convincing O'Keeffe portrait, go to Robinson; for a microscopic look at the artist's relationship with Stieglitz, see Eisler; and for a sense of O'Keeffe's explosive creativity, read her letters to Anita Pollitzer (Lovingly, Georgia, 1990). (Sixteen pages of photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 1992

ISBN: 0-553-08116-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Bantam

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1992

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INSIDE THE DREAM PALACE

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF NEW YORK'S LEGENDARY CHELSEA HOTEL

A zesty, energetic history, not only of a building, but of more than a century of American culture.

A revealing biography of the fabled Manhattan hotel, in which generations of artists and writers found a haven.

Turn-of-the century New York did not lack either hotels or apartment buildings, writes Tippins (February House: The Story of W. H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Jane and Paul Bowles, Benjamin Britten, and Gypsy Rose Lee, Under One Roof In Wartime America, 2005). But the Chelsea Hotel, from its very inception, was different. Architect Philip Hubert intended the elegantly designed Chelsea Association Building to reflect the utopian ideals of Charles Fourier, offering every amenity conducive to cooperative living: public spaces and gardens, a dining room, artists’ studios, and 80 apartments suitable for an economically diverse population of single workers, young couples, small families and wealthy residents who otherwise might choose to live in a private brownstone. Hubert especially wanted to attract creative types and made sure the building’s walls were extra thick so that each apartment was quiet enough for concentration. William Dean Howells, Edgar Lee Masters and artist John Sloan were early residents. Their friends (Mark Twain, for one) greeted one another in eight-foot-wide hallways intended for conversations. In its early years, the Chelsea quickly became legendary. By the 1930s, though, financial straits resulted in a “down-at-heel, bohemian atmosphere.” Later, with hard-drinking residents like Dylan Thomas and Brendan Behan, the ambience could be raucous. Arthur Miller scorned his free-wheeling, drug-taking, boozy neighbors, admitting, though, that the “great advantage” to living there “was that no one gave a damn what anyone else chose to do sexually.” No one passed judgment on creativity, either. But the art was not what made the Chelsea famous; its residents did. Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Robert Mapplethorpe, Phil Ochs and Sid Vicious are only a few of the figures populating this entertaining book.

A zesty, energetic history, not only of a building, but of more than a century of American culture.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-618-72634-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

HUMANS OF NEW YORK

STORIES

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

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 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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