Sound advice, together with a plethora of wry anecdotes on the subject of acquiring a work of contemporary art, brings the...

I BOUGHT ANDY WARHOL

Often biting, always amusing behind-the-scenes glimpse of the heady world of art collecting.

A former gallery director, gallery owner, and private art dealer, Polsky has also written a series of financial guides to the art market and is a contributor to artnet.com. Here, he charts his 12-year quest to acquire a Warhol painting with the $100,000 he’d set aside for that purpose in 1987. The goal was at times tantalizingly close, at times impossibly remote as the art market paralleled the fluctuations of the stock market, whose excesses fueled and quenched its flames. In the author’s words, this is about “doing business in the art world,” a promise he fulfills while sparing the reader the stupefying details of its more mundane aspects. Polsky goes directly for the meat: the quirky characters and surreal situations, the high-figure deals and over-the-top greed, the outright snobbery and seemingly purposeful sexual ambiguity. Some particularly funny moments include his observations on a gallery receptionist’s icy disdain, the humiliating finesse required merely to get a rival dealer’s catalogue, and a Whitney show of Warhol portraits with many of the portrait subjects in attendance. At his weakest, Polsky interrupts the narrative to score an additional point or drop another name. But his genuine admiration for Warhol’s work makes this account seem honest, rather than carping. It’s a juicy tale of money and manipulation that rivals anything Wall Street has been able to deliver recently, but it’s not merely for those with the bucks to purchase a well-known work of art. Anyone with an interest in contemporary art and its celebration of those who have achieved their 15 minutes will take pleasure here.

Sound advice, together with a plethora of wry anecdotes on the subject of acquiring a work of contemporary art, brings the ethereal down to earth without dragging it through the mud.

Pub Date: June 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-8109-4271-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2003

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A zesty, energetic history, not only of a building, but of more than a century of American culture.

INSIDE THE DREAM PALACE

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF NEW YORK'S LEGENDARY CHELSEA HOTEL

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. 19, 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.

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

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