A sharp, lavishly illustrated biography of one of the most influential figures in refashioning the roles of women.

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MICHELLE OBAMA AND THE POWER OF STYLE

A scintillating fashion biography of Michelle Obama’s inimitable style and its far-reaching influence.

Former Harper’s Bazaar editor in chief and current Time contributor Betts focuses on how the First Lady’s style has helped her achieve such iconic status. Brimming with more than 200 color photographs, the book demonstrates how Obama has repeatedly pushed the envelope of fashion and convention. Changing from couture by lesser-known designers to Chucks and a cardigan without batting an eye, Obama presents herself in a way that is at once both trendsetting and common. Beyond the analysis of her uncannily self-possessed style, Betts provides an intriguing contextualization of Obama within the historical framework of other groundbreaking First Ladies—Dolley Madison, Mary Todd Lincoln, Grace Coolidge, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie O, Hillary Clinton—as well as within the current postfeminist moment in American culture. In a country founded on the joint values of relative equality and freedom to celebrate individuality, the question of how one chooses to dress has always taken on a political charge. In the role of the president’s wife, Betts argues, those comfortable with their own style have made the greatest impact. For Obama, who was thrust even more under the microscope as the first African-American First Lady, her conduct carries global influence but especially hits home with American women. “It’s almost as if she is taking Hillary Clinton’s intelligence but dressing it in Jackie Kennedy’s clothes,” writes Betts. “In many ways she is reshaping the feminist dream, correcting its oversights, compensating for its defects.” Though her argument rests on a number of dichotomies—fashion vs. style, style vs. substance—and the author clearly champions her subject, her book should have widespread appeal.

A sharp, lavishly illustrated biography of one of the most influential figures in refashioning the roles of women.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-59143-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2011

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A dazzling visual homage to a music icon gone too soon.

MY NAME IS PRINCE

A Los Angeles–based photographer pays tribute to a legendary musician with anecdotes and previously unseen images collected from their 25-year collaboration.

St. Nicholas (co-author: Whitney: Tribute to an Icon, 2012, etc.) first met Prince in 1991 at a prearranged photo shoot. “The dance between photographer and subject carried us away into hours of inspired photographs…and the beginning of a friendship that would last a lifetime.” In this book, the author fondly remembers their many professional encounters in the 25 years that followed. Many would be portrait sessions but done on impulse, like those in a burned-out Los Angeles building in 1994 and on the Charles Bridge in Prague in 2007. Both times, the author and Prince came together through serendipity to create playfully expressive images that came to represent the singer’s “unorthodox ability to truly live life in the moment.” Other encounters took place while Prince was performing at Paisley Park, his Minneapolis studio, or at venues in LA, New York, Tokyo, and London. One in particular came about after the 1991 release of Prince’s Diamonds and Pearls album and led to the start of St. Nicholas’ career as a video director. Prince, who nurtured young artists throughout his career, pushed the author to “trust my instincts…expand myself creatively.” What is most striking about even the most intimate of these photographs—even those shot with Mayte Garcia, the fan-turned–backup dancer who became Prince’s wife in 1996—is the brilliantly theatrical quality of the images. As the author observes, the singer was never not the self-conscious artist: “Prince was Prince 24/7.” Nostalgic and reverential, this book—the second St. Nicholas produced with/for Prince—is a celebration of friendship and artistry. Prince fans are sure to appreciate the book, and those interested in art photography will also find the collection highly appealing.

A dazzling visual homage to a music icon gone too soon.

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-293923-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Clear journalistic prose makes sense of the befuddling legal entanglements in an ongoing battle that has become notorious in...

ART HELD HOSTAGE

THE BATTLE OVER THE BARNES COLLECTION

American Lawyer deputy editor Anderson chronicles the legal contests over the administration of America’s largest private art collection.

The author begins with a fair portrait of Dr. Albert C. Barnes, amasser of the famous Barnes Collection and creator of the eponymous foundation charged with its preservation. Barnes received his medical degree at 20 and went on to wrest control of a pharmaceutical company that owned exclusive rights to manufacture an internationally prescribed gonorrhea medicine. (His signature style throughout his life was to hire first-rate legal counsel and pursue his litigious course until he got what he wanted.) Barnes’s fortune, preserved through the Depression, permitted the assembly of a fabulous collection that included 180 Renoirs; it’s currently valued at six billion dollars. Just before his death in 1951, the doctor changed the terms of the foundation’s indenture, granting control to the trustees of Lincoln College, the oldest black college in America, setting the stage for a long round of disputes. While the collection gained tremendously in value over the next four decades, the size of the endowment that paid for the upkeep of the French Renaissance palace that housed it dwindled through mismanagement. In the 1990s, foundation president Richard H. Glanton, a high-profile African-American lawyer, oversaw the galleries’ renovation and undertook the expensive litigation responsible for bringing the foundation to the edge of ruin. Anderson describes these conflicts in a work that by his own admission is “a legal tale” rather than a scholarly biography or a work of art history. The absence of footnotes, he explains, springs from the desire of his best sources to remain anonymous. That’s not surprising, considering the rancor all this legal wrangling has generated, including a lawsuit over a parking lot instituted in federal court that invoked the Ku Klux Klan Act.

Clear journalistic prose makes sense of the befuddling legal entanglements in an ongoing battle that has become notorious in the art world and beyond. (16 illustrations)

Pub Date: May 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-393-04889-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2003

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