Art and the philosophy of life

Archive for the ‘book’ Category


Just a reminder to check out this beautiful gardening book…it’s not about pottery, the garden is on a scrap of ground by a pottery factory. It’s beautiful.

Book review…

Bill Cunningham was a famous New York street photographer.  He started out making hats, doing odd jobs, to survive, but he was, from a child, always interested in fashion.  That’s truly all that ever mattered to him.  This book is about his early life, the late thirties, forties, fifties and a bit farther.

I saw a video on him and at the end he lived in a room surrounded by file cabinets.  One could barely walk.  His bed might have been top of the cabinets, which was not unusual for him, since the time he left home.  He only cared about fashion, nothing else.

He is supposedly loved by New Yorkers.  He worked for various magazines, Woman’s Daily, and other media.  But here’s the thing.  In spite of the fact that he was always happy, smiling, excited, willing to try new things,  I didn’t like him.  Basically, he was a snob.  He took fashion watching as far as it would go and very, very few met his standard as truly chic and fashionable women.

He told his truth about the collections of Dior and all the rest, and they were usually not good.  He was uneducated but apparently he had an eye for the different and new.

In the end he rode his bicycle in his blue jacket (he did not dress well, or expensively), and took pictures of everyday people on the street, who caught his fancy.  He looked for the best dressed and those who took risks.

He worked in New York, but when younger he had traveled for shows, staying in the cheapest hotels (bedbugs), and often went without food.  Nothing mattered but fashion.

Here’s the thing, he said that cities like Chicago were much better than NY because women had more freedom to dress the way they wanted to dress.  The rules, handed down by the old guard in NY, as far as how a woman on the social register should look, were strict.  Chicago and other cities made their own rules as individuals and he liked that.

According to him, the NY women on the social register, or fashion climbers, were horribly competitive.  But he also felt that most women don’t have any taste at all.  I don’t think he actually likes women…he just likes their clothes. Women are just something to hold the clothes up.

The way he wrote the book, made me think that he was unable to “feel” anything for anyone.  He was so focused on women’s clothing, that he cared nothing for the people who wore it.

His books are expensive (Amazon) and, as I said, many people love him.  I’m not one of them.  He may have always been smiling, but something was missing.  He could be intrusive and extremely judgmental, thinking that what he thought was always the truth.

I got the book on sale for a dollar. It’s short, or I wouldn’t have finished it.  If you’re a fan, however, and you want to know about his early life from his own point of view, then you’ll want to read this one.  I don’t like him.



Pumpkin…a book review.

This is such a cute book.  Kids will love it, as will adults who love animals.  Pumpkin fell out the nest during a wind storm and had a broken leg.  The story continues and she ends up living her very best life with her two sister rescue dogs, who had been horribly abused.

This is a joyful and playful book, with Pumpkin and her sisters, snuggling and playing.  She does’t climb because she thinks she’s a dog so stays on the ground with them.  LOL

The photographs are full page and adorable.  It’s very sweet.

Beth, I think you would love this for the kids.  The love just comes right off the page and teaches that we are all pretty much the same, except that Pumpkin washes her food.

You can see the inside photographs on Amazon.  Not a lot of writing, just a lot of fun and cuteness.

Book review…

This is a well made book.  Dense, heavy and honest.

At first I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling weird while reading it and then I realized that it was because Judy was telling the truth, about herself, her life, and the male dominated world of art.

Sh doesn’t make excuses for men or the critics. She names names, calls things what they are.  She’s loud and forward.  She knows who she is, deep down inside. She does the work.

The press tried to destroy her, men and women alike.   But she never gave up.  She was misunderstood and attacked by critics who were afraid of her work, as she sometimes was herself, because of its strength and power.  Many just didn’t have the ability to see what she was saying through her art and were threatened by it.  Some still are.

Often broke she kept going. Struggling, but working and spreading feminism wherever she went.

There is a happy ending.  That’s unusual for a woman artist.  The fact that she has been recognized while she’s still alive is kind of amazing.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in art, feminism, the art world, critics, the erasure and destruction of female artists, the prejudice and sexism attached to everything, and a spirit that just would not lay down and die.  Judy Chicago is an example of one who made it, in spite of those who tried to destroy her.

Book review…Believe Me


I’m a fan.  Love Eddie.  Listen to his CDs and watch his shows on DVD.  Having typed that…I couldn’t wait to finish the book, and I never found the jazz chickens.  That’s probably my fault, since I did start skimming and skipping pages near the end.  The end seems rushed, while almost three hundred pages are about his childhood.

It’s not a bad book, it’s just excruciatingly detailed in parts.  Way too much detail about his time in school from the age of four, and when he’s older.  Too much on how to fly a plane.  There are many footnotes, and not your regular ones either…descriptions and explanations of people and incidents.  Some of he footnotes are quite long. They break up the main story. like two different stories on one page.

I’m not sorry I read it…I would just like to cut some of the bits out and smash the rest together so that it flowed better and didn’t waste time on the unimportant parts that were already well described.  Needed an editor.

His mother’s death, when he was four, or five, has colored his entire life and with good reason.  After her death he, and his brother, were put into boarding schools and that’s where they stayed.  His father traveled 3/4th of the year so their life went from happy family to isolation and nothing overnight.

The book was interesting.  He’s a nice person and I love his humor.  But it’s slow going a lot of the time. I bought the book at a going out of business bookstore sale.  Another one bites the dust as Freddie would say.  I was so excited to read it.  And, if you’re a fan, you might want to read it as well.  He had a difficult life but made his dreams come true.  He never stops trying and he’s a fantastic stand-up.  I just watched DRESSED TO KILL on DVD.  He’s great.

Book review…


This is a beautifully made book.  Heavy, nice paper, every page filled with artwork. It’s a normal size, but very short book because it’s written as you see in on the cover, in typed strips.  The story describes our system/way of life, that doesn’t work, from the point of a kid who can’t understand why things are the way they are.

It’s like poetry in motion, with an important point.  It’s difficult to live, when things don’t make sense.  Interesting book you may want to check out.

Just finished reading UN/MASKED…review

I’m a big fan of the Guerrilla Girls.  Have all their books, etc., seen them in person.  They are wonderful and do great work exposing the terrible discrimination against women in the arts.

But this book is about domestic violence, by a well known male movie star, William Hurt.* Battering is putting it mildly.  It’s about Donna Kaz’s life as a playwright, actor, and many other things, including, being his “girlfriend.”  It’s about how she lied to herself about the violence, and gave up parts of her life for the man she loved…the man who beat her.

It’s also about the Guerrilla Girls, but that part is small in comparison.

I bought the book because of the Guerrilla Girls, so was disappointed that the majority of the book was not about them.  But all in all, The book is an indictment of how much women are left out of the art world…completely.  How things are set up to make sure women do not get noticed and are never given a chance to show their work.

If you’re interested in any of these subjects, this is a well written and good book to read.

*She never mentions his last name in the book.

A wonderful book for cat and book lovers…


Rizzoli is a wonderful publisher and the pictures are full page and beautiful.  We learn the name of each cat, how it came to be where it is, and if it’s in a bookstore, which one.  All the pictures are filled with books.

I love it.  There is no long story, just blurbs about each gorgeous cat, that tells their traits and what they like.   It’s the perfect gift for a cat/book lover.

Look it up on Amazon to see the inside.  Scroll down and there are large pictures of the pages.

This is the other book I bought…

This is a nice book.  Multiple artists, full page art, not broken up with a lot of writing, just the name of the artist, where it was done, etc.  I like it.  If you’re into street art, you may want to check it out.  Banksy’s work has been seen in many books, and it’s shown in these pages, but this is not a book on Banksy, per se.  It’s on street art.

Okay, so…

This is one of the books I bought at the used bookstore, today.  The photographs are great and there’s a bit of history on each page.  The pictures are a page and a half in size, so it’s perfect.  Like its name, it’s a cool book.  That’s The Bean on the cover.  Real name is Sky Gate, but we call it, The Bean.

Here’s the thing.  Having lived in Chicago my entire life, which is a very long time, well, not before they had streets, or anything, but a long time, nonetheless, and there are some places, in the book, I never knew existed…bars, etc., (different part of the city).

I never claimed to know anything about the city I love, and I REALLY love Chicago.  I mean I can’t tell you the names of all the buildings, their history, or much at all.  Those things never mattered.  I have books on the skyscrapers, their names, who designed them, built them, etc., but I don’t read them.  I want to know, I just can’t get myself to care.

Anyway, I’ve been to a lot of the places in the book, and at least seen some of the others.   I hung out at some of them, when I was young.

The photographs of city lit up at night are breathtaking.  Chicago is gorgeous.  I admit I’m prejudice, but it’s still true.  She’s beautiful.  She sparkles.


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