by Justin Duerr ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 2, 2019
A surrealistic, sometimes unsettling pleasure for fans of the avant-garde and an obvious labor of love for all concerned.
A striking homage to an all-but-unknown artist for whom the word “eccentric” is only a beginning.
Born in London, Herbert Crowley (1873-1937) set out to be an opera singer only to discover that “he didn’t have the constitution or the personality of a performer.” As Philadelphia-based artist and scholar Duerr writes, he wound up “in Costa Rica overseeing the loading of banana stalks at a plantation owned by the United Fruit Company.” He didn’t last long, departing for New York and arriving there wearing a tropical-weight suit in winter. Crowley somehow made his way as an artist during the first decade of the 20th century; he was a member of the avant-garde that would have a brilliant moment in the Armory Show of 1913. Before that, though, he had a brief burst of renown with an odd Sunday cartoon featuring a roly-poly character called the Wigglemuch, which appeared in the New York Herald over 14 weeks in 1910 before abruptly disappearing. Duerr hazards the guess that two strips showing a Wigglemuch being fattened for slaughter “may have finally become too outré for the Herald,” while also allowing that Crowley may not have been the deadline-meeting type. Over the next years, as Duerr records, Crowley kept busy painting, drawing, and sculpting while coming into the orbit of C.G. Jung; he died in Switzerland, and many of his pieces were tossed into Lake Maggiore. Much of what remains is gathered in this elegant, oversized volume, which includes the run of the Wigglemuch series and much more, including some haunting sculptures that resemble the work of the classic Olmec artists by way of H.P. Lovecraft. The book makes a solid case for Crowley as a forerunner of the R. Crumb school of comix half a century later, and admirers of Crumb as well as nearer contemporaries such as George Herriman will find it a revelation.A surrealistic, sometimes unsettling pleasure for fans of the avant-garde and an obvious labor of love for all concerned.
Pub Date: April 2, 2019
Page Count: 108
Publisher: Beehive Books
Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019
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by Sherill Tippins ‧ RELEASE DATE: Dec. 3, 2013
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
Page Count: 448
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013
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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
Page Count: 432
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015
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