As a painter, abstract expressionist Schueler fought to translate his vision to canvas; as a writer, he struggled just as hard to describe the difficulty of leading a creative life. A newcomer who quickly found his way into the center of the prevailing art scene in the 1950s, Schueler began his career in the shadow of such artists as Clyfford Still, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko. Years younger than those first-generation abstract expressionists, however, he had to fight to assert his place in the pantheon. It was a fight that drained him, and as much as he longed to be in the midst of “the glory,” he also longed to escape it. This volume, a collection of the artist’s letters and journal entries, begins with his decision to leave New York in search of a landscape that would inform his work; under the quick-changing skies of Mallaig, Scotland, he found it. The wild, stormy weather of Scotland’s West Coast mirrored his own emotional struggle: insecure and ambitious, driven and desiring, Schueler ricocheted between countries, dealers, and women. Judging by this book, the greatest constant in his life was his devotion to his art, and his book reflects his dedication to it with a loose, engaging fluency. He was a fearless documentarian, and The Sound of Sleat fascinates—not only for its studio-eye view of the epochal New York art scene of the ’50s and ’60s, but also for its archetypal quality. Schueler was nothing if not self-aware, and in spite of occasional self-aggrandizing, he had a very clear understanding of the cost of leading a creative life. Although he suffered greatly for his art—and put the women who loved him though hell—his story remains oddly uplifting; he chose to live as close to his dream as possible. An insider’s outsider, Schueler had a unique perspective on the raging art world of the ’50s and ’60s; his book is both a personal testament and a riveting account of American painting at that time. (16 pages color, 32 b&w photos)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-312-20015-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Picador

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999




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



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