Posts Tagged ‘fine art’

True Stories from an Undercover Art Crime Agent

June 29th, 2011 No comments

If the fictional exploits of government spies like Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and John Le Carré’s George Smiley don’t have the gritty realism some readers crave, they might try picking up a copy of Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures, written by former FBI agent Robert Wittman. Now in paperback, the bestseller reveals details of several cases that Wittman worked while heading up the FBI’s Art Crime Team. His real-life experiences have all the ingredients of a high-octane spy thriller: mob connected thugs, police informants, millions of dollars worth of stolen art and FBI sting operations. The common thread being Wittman, whose chameleon-like ability to slip into different personas helped bring hardened criminals to justice and recover millions of dollars in fine art. Read more…


Lee Krasner Out From Under Jackson Pollock’s Shadow

April 18th, 2011 No comments

Mostly outshone by the star power of her husband, painter Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner was often discounted as an artist in her own right, and relegated to the difficult job of managing Pollock’s erratic behavior. But in the new book Lee Krasner: A Biography (William Morrow, 560pgs), art historian and biographer, Gail Levin, sheds new light on Krasner’s resilient personality and her creative talent. Born in Brooklyn in 1908, she went on to study art at Cooper Union and do work for the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration during the 1920-30′s. With her intelligence and magnetism, Krasner rubbed shoulders with many of the artistic elite of the time, including Willem de Kooning and Stuart Davis. In 1941 she met Pollock and began to help nurture his talent and placate his demons. Read more…


Steve Martin Stirs Up Praise and Prattle with New Book

December 3rd, 2010 No comments

41voRRKY31L._SL160_A man of many talents and interests, Steve Martin is best known for his comedic work on film and television. But the funny man has a cerebral side, too, and is also a Grammy-winning bluegrass banjo musician and author of several books, plays and memoirs. His latest novel, An Object of Beauty (Grand Central Publishing, 304pgs) debuted last week to much critical praise. The story follows Lacey Yeager, an ambitious young art dealer, through her rise in the art world and is narrated by an art critic friend who observes her climb to the top. We here at In the Stax try to avoid works by celebrity authors in general, since the writing and plot lines are usually mediocre at best. But experience with Martin’s past work has proved that he is a wry and insightful writer. Hopefully An Object of Beauty continues in that vein. Read more…


Ray Bradbury Creates with a Brush Instead of a Pen

October 15th, 2009 2 comments
"Dark Carnival" by Ray Bradbury ©1948

"Dark Carnival" by Ray Bradbury ©1948

Literary icon Ray Bradbury will unveil a different kind of artistry next week, with his first public showing of a new giclée print at the Santa Monica gallery Every Picture Tells a Story. The author best known for the acclaimed books The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451 has been painting since the 1930′s, and often depicts subject matter inspired by his writing. Such is the case with his new print, made from a darkly ominous oil painting completed in 1948, un-offically titled Dark Carnival after his collection of short stories with the same name. In an interview with “Hero Complex” columnist Geoff Boucher, Bradbury explains the inspiration for this piece: “I didn’t like the original cover that was on the book when it came out so I designed my own. I made this painting and hoped that someone would use it as the cover in the future.” Several decades later, Bradbury’s hope became reality when Gauntlet Press printed a Dark Carnival special edition in 2001, which featured his painting on the cover.

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