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Naked by the Window: The Fatal Marriage of Carl Andre and Ana Mendieta Hardcover – April, 1990

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1985 well-known minimalist sculptor Carl Andre informed police that his wife, avant-garde painter-sculptor Ana Mendieta, had fallen out of the window of their SoHo, New York City, apartment following a quarrel. Charged with murder, he was acquitted three years later in a nonjury trial. Although Katz ( Death in Rome ) does not directly argue that Andre pushed his wife to her death, his post-trial investigation turned up new evidence that casts doubt on the defense's claim that Mendieta's death was accidental or a suicide. At the time of the trial, it was divulged that she had a crippling fear of heights and avoided windows, and that Andre had scratches on his body the night of his wife's death. And the fact that Mendieta, who was planning to file for divorce, had photocopied documentation of her husband's suspected infidelities was deemed inadmissible. Katz's shocking police procedural is at once a glimpse into the tight, elitist New York art world, an affecting portrait of a Cuban-American woman artist, and an act of remembrance. Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

On September 8, 1985, Soho artist Ana Mendieta fell 34 floors to her death. After slow progress through the judicial system, Ana's husband, renowned minimalist artist Carl Andre, was tried for murder and found not guilty. Katz takes the often-told story of love and marriage gone wrong and makes it fascinating by vividly describing the New York art scene of which Andre and Mendieta were an integral part. Soon after Mendieta's death, this world split into two warrings camps, and Katz, whose sympathy lies with the Mendieta camp, essentially accuses Andre's followers of closing ranks, protecting him at all costs, and making it impossible for the prosecution to prove its case. A gripping story, very well told. Highly recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/1/90.
- Sandra K. Lindheimer, Middlesex Law Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 428 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Pr; 1st edition (April 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871133547
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871133540
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Katz

Robert Katz is the author of twelve books and eight screenplays, including three adaptations from his own works: Death in Rome, The Cassandra Crossing, and Days of Wrath.

Death in Rome, which the Chicago Tribune called a "masterpiece of literature [and] a masterpiece of historical scholarship," was a worldwide bestseller published in twenty edi¬tions and ten languages. A study of the World War II Ardeatine Caves Massacre, it became an international cause célèbre culminating in a ten year freedom of speech court battle involving the Vatican. He has written extensively on this period and among his other publications are Black Sabbath: A Journey Through a Crime Against Humanity, a study of the roundup and deportation to Auschwitz of the Jews of Rome.

His most recent work, The Battle for Rome, a history of Nazi-occupied Rome, was praised by The New York Times as "a poignant, dramatic and definitive account..."

Days of Wrath is an investigative report on the terrorist kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro, the Italian statesman. Reviewing Days of Wrath, the Washington Post wrote: "anyone who can be moved by the pity and terror of a modern tragedy will want to read this original and passionately heartfelt book." The book was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; the film version won a Golden Globe and represented Italy in the main competition of the 1987 Berlin Film Festival, where it received a Silver Bear award.

His articles, short stories, and book reviews have appeared in publications throughout the world. He has been a consultant to CBS's 60 Minutes, ABC's PrimeTime Live and Italian television's RAI network news magazine Mixer.

In 1991 he was inducted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Both as author and screenwriter, Mr. Katz has been a guest lecturer on many university campuses in the U.S. and abroad. Between 1986 and 1992, he was a frequent visiting professor in investigative journalism at the University of California at Santa Cruz. A Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, he is a former grantee of the American Council of Learned Societies and has twice been elected a Knight of Mark Twain. His official web site is

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Peter Baklava on September 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Ana Mendieta was a Cuban-born girl who moved to Iowa in the early 1960's as part of "Operation Peter Pan", a relocation program for Cuban children. First she was placed with her sister in an orphanage in Dubuque, before finally reuniting with her family in Cedar Rapids.

The Cuban girl Mendieta grew into a beautiful woman who began expressing herself in performance art and sculpture with themes relating to the practice of Santeria, blood, earth, birth and death within the contexts of primitive Hispanic symbolism. In short, she was brilliant. However, she had a predisposition to form relationships with her artistic mentors. One of these was Carl Andre, an established minimalist sculptor that Mendieta married, using him as a bridge to join the New York art establishment. Mendieta eventually became disenchanted with the bearded Andre, a rather odd and stilted personality, perpetually clad in Grant Wood-style overalls. She made plans for a divorce, but tragically died in a fall from the thirty-fourth floor New York apartment of Andre.

A trial ensued, in which most of the New York art establishment remained in solidarity with Andre, even though the alibi that he offered--that Mendieta committed suicide in a fit of jealousy--lacked plausibility. There simply was not enough evidence for the judge (Andre opted to forego a jury trial) to convict, and so justice was denied for yet another woman who lacked the power given her male counterpart.

This is a fascinating story that could have been told in a better form--this book has a fractured format which hacks up Mendieta's life and death instead of presenting it logically. But, as the best book available on the subject, it deserves your attention.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rita Campbell on June 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating account of the life, and untimely death, of the gifted Cuban artist Ana Mendieta. The writer, Robert Katz says, I have "sought to narrate these events as they were revealed to me, certainly not chronologically or in any other 'logical' way." In spite of the odd sequence in the recounting of events it is a riveting read. Ana Mendieta was lovely, free-spirited, magnetic, and a rising star in the art world. Her tragic fall from a NYC highrise is a great, and enduring loss to the world. Carl Andre is depicted as a complicated, proud, eccentric individual. He had fatal flaws in his character, and at the time of Ana's death his star was descending. Nevertheless, he was an iconic figure who was defended, and protected, by his powerful and wealthy friends in the art world. A burning question remains, did Andre get away with murder?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Buying for present on May 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Given that this is the only place this information about Mendieta's life is available it makes an interesting read. However, the writing style is rather poor
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Detailed and accurate account of NYC's murder scandal in the art world. Well written, interesting, couldn't put the book down. Surprising outcome written by investigative reporter who attended the trial daily and interviewed all sides of the issues.
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