Category Archives: biography

Notes and Tones: Musician-to-Musician Interviews

By Arthur Taylor (1977)

Notes and Tones consists of no-holds-barred conversations which drummer Arthur Taylor held with the most influential jazz musicians of the 1960s and 70s. Free to speak their minds, these musicians offer startling insights into their music, their lives, and the creative process itself.

Posted in biography, culture, history, interview, music

Sculpting in Time


By Andrei Tarkovsky (1985)

In Sculpting in Time, Andrey Tarkovsky has left his artistic testament, a remarkable revelation of both his life and work. He sets down his thoughts and his memories, revealing for the first time the original inspirations for his extraordinary films.

Posted in art, biography, cinema, media

Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics


Edited by Louis Marchesano (2020)

German printmaker Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945) is known for her unapologetic social and political imagery; her representations of grief, suffering, and struggle; and her equivocal ideas about artistic and political labels. This volume explores Kollwitz’s obsessive printmaking experiments with the evolution of her images, and assesses the unusually rich progressions of preparatory drawings, proofs, and rejected images behind Kollwitz’s compositions of struggling workers, rebellious peasants, and grieving
mothers.

Posted in art, biography, exhibition, politics, printmaking

The Women of Atelier 17: Modernist Printmaking in Midcentury New York

By Christina Weyl (2019)

In this important book Christina Weyl takes us into the experimental New York print studio Atelier 17 and highlights the women whose work there advanced both modernism and feminism in the 1940s and 1950s. Weyl focuses on eight artists — Louise Bourgeois, Minna Citron, Worden Day, Dorothy Dehner, Sue Fuller, Alice Trumbull Mason, Louise Nevelson, and Anne Ryan—who bent the technical rules of printmaking and blazed new aesthetic terrain with their etchings, engravings, and woodcuts. She reveals how Atelier 17 operated as an uncommonly egalitarian laboratory for revolutionizing print technique, style, and scale. It facilitated women artists’ engagement with modernist styles, providing a forum for extraordinary achievements that shaped postwar sculpture, fiber art, neo-Dadaism, and the Pattern and Decoration movement. Atelier 17 fostered solidarity among women pursuing modernist forms of expression, providing inspiration for feminist collective action in the 1960s and 1970s. The Women of Atelier 17 also identifies for the first time nearly 100 women, many previously unknown, who worked at the studio, and provides incisive illustrated biographies of selected artists.

Posted in art, biography, education, feminism, printmaking

Monument Eternal: The Music of Alice Coltrane

By Franya J. Berkman (2010)

Alice Coltrane was a composer, improviser, guru, and widow of John Coltrane. Over the course of her musical life, she synthesized a wide range of musical genres including gospel, rhythm-and-blues, bebop, free jazz, Indian devotional song, and Western art music. Her childhood experiences playing for African-American congregations in Detroit, the ecstatic and avant-garde improvisations she performed on the bandstand with her husband John Coltrane, and her religious pilgrimages to India reveal themselves on more than twenty albums of original music for the Impulse and Warner Brothers labels.

In the late 1970s Alice Coltrane became a swami, directing an alternative spiritual community in Southern California. Exploring her transformation from Alice McLeod, Detroit church pianist and bebopper, to guru Swami Turiya Sangitananda, Monument Eternal illuminates her music and, in turn, reveals the exceptional fluidity of American religious practices in the second half of the twentieth century. Most of all, this book celebrates the hybrid music of an exceptional, boundary-crossing African-American artist.

Posted in biography, music

Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait

By Deborah Wye (2017)
Published in conjunction with an exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, this catalog presents more than 270 prints and books, organized thematically, and includes an essay that traces Bourgeois’ involvement with these mediums within the broader developments of her life and career. It also emphasizes the collaborative relationships that were so fundamental to these endeavors. Included are interviews with Bourgeois’ longtime assistant, a printer she worked with side-by-side at her home/studio on 20th Street in New York and the publisher who, in the last decade of her life, encouraged her to experiment with innovative prints that broke the traditional boundaries of the medium. The volume is rounded out with a chronology and bibliography that focus on prints and illustrated books while also providing general background on Bourgeois’ life and art.

Link to MoMA online archive: Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books

Posted in art, biography, exhibition, feminism, interview, printmaking

Four Lives in the Bebop Business

By A.B. Spellman (1967)This book offers biographical sketches and quotations from four musicians: Herbie Nichols, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, and Jackie McLean.

Posted in biography, interview, music

Something to Take My Place: The Art of Lonnie Holley

Edited by Mark Sloan (2016)
Lonnie Holley (born 1950), acclaimed by The New York Times as “the Insider’s Outsider,” is best known for his assemblage sculptures incorporating natural and man-made materials, often cast off or discarded; he has recently also begun to make music, through the Dust-to-Digital label. Legendary for his environmental assemblage that spread over two acres of his property in Birmingham, Alabama―now destroyed―Holley scavenges and repurposes found objects in the service of a personal philosophy of renewal and rejuvenation. This is the first monograph on Holley’s work in more than a decade. Illustrated with reproductions of more than 70 of Holley’s sculptures, it provides a comprehensive overview of Holley’s art, life and philosophy, with essays by Mark Sloan, Leslie Umberger, Bernard L. Herman and an “as-told-to” autobiography recorded by noted oral historian Theodore Rosengarten.

Posted in art, biography, culture, exhibition, music

Space Is the Place: The Lives And Times Of Sun Ra

By John F. Szwed (1998)
Sun Ra, a.k.a. Herman Poole “Sonny” Blount (1914–1993), has been hailed as “one of the great big-band leaders, pianists, and surrealists of jazz” (New York Times) and as “the missing link between Duke Ellington and Public Enemy” (Rolling Stone). Composer, keyboardist, bandleader, philosopher, poet, and self-proclaimed extraterrestrial from Saturn, Sun Ra led his “Intergalactic Arkestra” of thirty-plus musicians in a career that ranged from boogie-woogie and swing to be-bop, free jazz, fusion, and New Age music. This definitive biography reveals the life, philosophy, and musical growth of one of the twentieth century’s greatest avant-garde musicians.

Posted in art, biography, music, myth, science

March Trilogy

By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (2016)
Discover the inside story of the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of one of its most iconic figures, Congressman John Lewis. March is the award-winning, #1 bestselling graphic novel trilogy recounting his life in the movement, co-written with Andrew Aydin and drawn by Nate Powell. Congressman John Lewis was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. He was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and played a key role in the struggle to end segregation. Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. He is co-author of the first comics work to ever win the National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel memoir trilogy March, written with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell. He is also the recipient of numerous awards from national and international institutions including the Lincoln Medal, the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Lifetime Achievement Award, and the NAACP Spingarn Medal, among many others. He lives in Atlanta, GA.

Posted in biography, culture, history, politics