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State of the Arts: California Artists Talk About Their Work Paperback – April 21, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee (April 21, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566636310
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566636315
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,897,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This anthology features [edited] transcripts of conversations between art writer Isenberg (Making It Big, LJ 3/15/97) and 54 current or former West Coast artists, writers, actors, and composers in which they express their views of California and its affects on their lives and work. The commonality of living or having lived in the Golden State and the book's sheer number of interviews contribute to a more general, and perhaps unexpected, cumulative message: a defensive championing of the state's freer creative climate. Repeatedly, artists describe how the cultural and historical setting has permitted more experimentation than would be possible in New York. The whiff of regionalism here is not helped by the book's narrow Southern California bias, likely the result of Isenberg's L.A. Times reporter background. (Only a quarter of the artists come from north of Tehachapi.) The collection is saved by the interesting and eclectic variety of means with which these people have found their creative niches, as when Dave Brubeck explains the impact on his musical ear of the rhythms he heard (of horses, pumps) during his ranchland childhood. Although it fails to transcend its limitations, this is an illuminating book, best suited for West Coast and large art libraries.DDouglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L., CA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Longtime arts reporter Isenberg brings her fascination with California culture, which is as diverse and impressive as the state's spectacular landscapes, to this collection of more than 50 interviews with writers, painters and sculptors, actors, musicians, photographers, and architects. Because less than half are natives, many artists talk about California as a mecca, or frontier. Matters of race and ethnicity; politics, history, and the environment; and the effect of place on creativity also play a large part in these lively and succinct discussions. Isenberg's articulate and magnetic subjects include such inevitable participants as Joan Didion, Dave Brubeck, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, but she also presents sculptor Betye Saar, public muralist Judith Baca, playwright Luis Valdez, artist David Hockney, composer Michael Tilson Thomas, writer Maxine Hong Kingston, and, in the world of entertainment, Carol Burnett, Matt Groening, and Clint Eastwood. By interviewing artists of different generations, temperaments, and disciplines, Isenberg has created a vivid sampler of perspectives on California's unique and inspiring ambiance and its significant contribution to world culture. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book about the most complicated state in America, California. The voices representing it are diverse, and strong, and a picture emerges of the Golden State that is as rich and varied as the State itself. David Hockney has been profoundly influenced by the lavish spectacle of this sun-splashed state. Carolyn See illuminates with her incisive, uniquely wry voice. John Rechy's take on the physicality and spirituality of a profound Los Angeles is worth the price of the book. Even those who have abandoned it--lots of rationalizations about that--are heard, like Joan Didion and her husband, who long for the state they left, substituting the sun and the easy, exhibitionistic narcissism for the hard-core reality of New York. There's a wealth of fresh observations, like Luis Valdez's, and there's even a typically laconic entry from Clint Eastwood, who is--surprise, surprise--not entirely profound. But overall the voices are strong, assertive--and, indeed, the Golden state emerges as a powerful state of the creative arts, original artists commendably impossible to label.
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By Book Worm on December 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
Not overly heavy or philosophical. Light reading that is fun and offers insight to art on the West Coast. Essays aren't the best quality or well thought out but offer a "first impression" kind of feel. Feels very spontaneous.

Good for curious readers.
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More About the Author

BARBARA ISENBERG, author of Tradition!, is an award winning journalist who has been writing and lecturing about theater for over three decades. She is the author of Making It Big: The Diary of a Broadway Musical, State of the Arts: California Artists Talk About Their Work and Conversations with Frank Gehry. Her work has appeared in the LA Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time, Esquire, The Huffington Post, and London's Sunday Times. She received a Distinguished Artist Award from the Los Angeles Music Center and has been a Visiting Scholar at the Getty Research Institute. She lives in Los Angeles.

Her new book, Tradition!: The Highly Improbable, Ultimately Triumphant Broadway-to-Hollywood Story of Fiddler on the Roof, The World's Most Beloved Musical, was published by St. Martin's Press in September, 2014, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic musical's Broadway debut. It is already a Los Angeles Times best-seller.

Founder and host of the Getty Center's Art Matters public interviews, she was formerly Associate Director of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities at USC. For more information, visit: www.barbaraisenberg.com

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State of the Arts: California Artists Talk About Their Work
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