FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

Appealing book design can't rescue a leaden look at the life and work of the eminent architect. Rubin (Emily Good as Gold, 1993) offers a coherent but drab account of Wright's life and the development of his art. She mentions his several women, but disposes of them quickly (after his lover Mamah Cheney was murdered, he ``missed [her] dreadfully and lost weight at first''), and, since she doesn't cite sources, her analytical comments are sometimes moot (``Wright's own broken home may have driven him to create beautiful homes for other American families''). They are also seemingly contradictory: Wright, an avid collector of Japanese art ``denied any direct influence from Japanese architecture,'' and, though he espoused the revolutionary idea that houses should be designed around the people who lived in them, many of his chairs are described as favoring ``art over comfort.'' The photos, though frequent and mostly in color, have a cramped, cropped look and, worse, will not help viewers understand Wright's vision. There are no exterior views or floor plans for his ``usonian'' houses; the Storer house and Fallingwater are seen from unrevealing, low angles; and Taliesin is barely glimpsed through surrounding trees. As books about Wright abound, this, though handsome, is at best supplemental. (No bibliography; cursory index) (Biography. 12- 15)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-8109-3974-6

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1994

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.

MAYA LIN

THINKING WITH HER HANDS

One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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BRANFORD MARSALIS

JAZZ MUSICIAN

A dry but serviceable look at the career of the oldest Marsalis brother, currently enjoying an enviable gig as musical director of the Tonight show. Despite the obvious talents of Wynton and his other brothers, Branford's mother allows that he was the child with the most natural musical ability; after other career options failed to pan out, he turned pro in 1980, toured with Art Blakey and other greats, and helped to spark a revival of popular interest in jazz. He is a versatile musician, playing both clubs and arenas, composing for (even appearing in) films, touring with pop singer Sting, recording with his own band and others; his loose, cheery style is said to complement brother Wynton's more serious, controlled approach. Basing his narrative entirely on secondary sources, mostly magazine articles, Bernotas (Spike Lee: Film Maker, 1993) barely mentions Marsalis's private life, discusses his music only in general terms, and salts his narrative with plenty of sound-bite quotes. This last, plus a tendency (common in jazz writing) to mention nearly every player in every band, makes for occasionally laborious reading; still, this is the fullest account yet of a musician who is sure to become more popular and influential as time goes on. End notes; index; source list; chronology and discography (through early 1994); 12 full-page b&w photos (not seen). (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-89490-495-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Enslow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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