A comprehensive treatise for collectors who regularly struggle between rationality and passion.

READ REVIEW

Collecting Tribal Art

HOW KWAKIUTL MASKS AND EASTER ISLAND LIZARD MEN BECAME ART

Rubel and Rosman (The Tapestry of Culture, 2009) explain the history, psychology and economics of “the unruly passion” of collecting tribal art.

Collecting can be an obsession, an investment, or an emotional pull. But mostly, the authors assert, it’s “a game.” It has winners, losers and rules, and its main goals are hunting and acquiring. More specifically, fine-art collecting is like politics, where wealth begets power and reputation. The authors, both research associates from the American Museum of Natural History’s department of anthropology, write that collecting tribal art “goes back more than 6 centuries.” During the Age of Exploration, Portuguese and Dutch sailors returned from overseas with goods made by so-called “savages.” These “artificial curiosities” so thrilled the Europeans that African and Oceanic societies began to make objects to appeal directly to European sensibilities. The authors provide tales of collectors, from the Medicis to the modern-day de Menils, and case studies that examine the unique ecosystem of collectors, dealers, auctions and museums. They also investigate those who collect for commercial purposes and those “guided by rules of taste, connoisseurship and aesthetics.” Using extensive research, the authors highlight seminal moments in tribal art history—such as how “primitive art” collecting by Pablo Picasso and others led to the creation of modernism and how photographer Alfred Stieglitz used ethnographic objects. They also show how the civil rights movement of the 1960s led to a greater appreciation for the cultural significance of the “exotic.” Although Rubel and Rosman concentrate on tribal-art collecting, their book also examines collecting in general and what separates it from “mere acquisitiveness.” Although sometimes a bit pedantic, this book holds great treasures, such as the tale of a 19th-century “souvenir”: an Apache necklace made of human fingers.

A comprehensive treatise for collectors who regularly struggle between rationality and passion.

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0741480590

Page Count: 204

Publisher: Infinity Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

HOW TO BE AN ARTIST

A noted critic advises us to dance to the music of art.

Senior art critic at New York Magazine and winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, Saltz (Seeing Out Louder, 2009, etc.) became a writer only after a decadeslong battle with “demons who preached defeat.” Hoping to spare others the struggle that he experienced, he offers ebullient, practical, and wise counsel to those who wonder, “How can I be an artist?” and who “take that leap of faith to rise above the cacophony of external messages and internal fears.” In a slim volume profusely illustrated with works by a wide range of artists, Saltz encourages readers to think, work, and see like an artist. He urges would-be artists to hone their power of perception: “Looking hard isn’t just about looking long; it’s about allowing yourself to be rapt.” Looking hard yields rich sources of visual interest and also illuminates “the mysteries of your taste and eye.” The author urges artists to work consistently and early, “within the first two hours of the day,” before “the pesky demons of daily life” exert their negative influence. Thoughtful exercises underscore his assertions. To get readers thinking about genre and convention, for example, Saltz presents illustrations of nudes by artists including Goya, Matisse, Florine Stettheimer, and Manet. “Forget the subject matter,” he writes, “what is each of these paintings actually saying?” One exercise instructs readers to make a simple drawing and then remake it in an entirely different style: Egyptian, Chinese ink-drawing, cave painting, and the styles of other artists, like Keith Haring and Georgia O’Keeffe. Freely experiment with “different sizes, tools, materials, subjects, anything,” he writes. “Don’t resist something if you’re afraid it’s taking you far afield of your usual direction. That’s the wild animal in you, feeding.” Although much of his advice is pertinent to amateur artists, Saltz also rings in on how to navigate the art world, compose an artist’s statement, deal with rejection, find a community of artists, and beat back demons. Above all, he advises, “Work, Work, Work.”

A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-08646-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

HUMANS OF NEW YORK

STORIES

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 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more