Next book



A much-needed, comprehensive biography of a great American artist.

The life and times of abstract expressionism’s sculpture queen.

“I’m just sort of a one-man circus. I call myself an architect of shadow and reflection.” This is how Louise Nevelson (1899-1988) described herself in 1971. Wilson, an art historian and practicing psychoanalyst (NYU Medical School), is perfectly suited to write this intimate, revealing biography of the artist she interviewed many times and considers “one of the greatest American artists of the twentieth-century.” The author argues it was always art and creativity that mattered to Nevelson, even at the cost of sometimes ignoring her family. She was born Leah Berliawsky in Russia and moved to Rockland, Maine, with her Jewish family when she was 5. As a child, she loved drawing, especially furniture. She married Charles Nevelson in 1920 and had a baby boy in 1922. She moved to New York City and began studying, drawing, and painting at the Art Students League in 1929 where she was mentored by a number of artists. Trips to Munich and Paris sparked her love for cubism. From 1934 to 1942 (she divorced in 1941), she began to focus on her “true artistic vocation—sculpture.” Her early works used found wood, like furniture, and she arranged bits and pieces in distinctly linear ways, some spray-painted with a single color. She experimented with plexiglass, then aluminum, then steel. In 1942, she “let loose and headed straight for Surrealism.” As her exhibits and reputation grew, so did the extravagances of her personal life. She became promiscuous, and she wore colorful clothes, exotic jewelry, crazy hats, and furry false eyelashes. She was living large, and her steel sculptures were large now, as well—imposing, massive (50 to 70 feet high), and weighing tons. Exuding a mystical quality, they “became the environment itself.” In her final years, she created inspiring, dramatic, monumental public art for cities across the country. In this occasionally revelatory narrative, Wilson continually proves her extensive knowledge of her subject.

A much-needed, comprehensive biography of a great American artist.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-500-09401-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Next book


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

Next book



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

Close Quickview