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Profile for Michael M. Smith > Reviews


Michael M. Smith's Profile

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Michael M. Smith RSS Feed (Lansing, MI)

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Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting
Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting
by Emily Braun
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $42.61
18 used & new from $42.61

5.0 out of 5 stars The Trauma of Painting is a Joy, January 29, 2016
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This is one of the best books on any artist I have seen and read. Emily Braun's writing is a pleasure to read. It is precise, insightful, and clear of art world puffery and jargon. The reproductions of Alberto Burri's works are exceptional, and the graphic design of the book is superb.

Prior to receiving this book I was aware of Burri's work, but I had seen little of it and I knew next to nothing of his life. Ms. Braun does a wonderful job of situating the man and his art in the history and events that formed him. This is a book well worth reading and having. It will broaden and deepen your appreciation and understanding of Alberto Burri and the transformative power of art.

Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art
Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art
by Nancy Princenthal
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $27.16
72 used & new from $22.82

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Appreciating Agnes Martin, July 12, 2015
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Ms. Princenthal has written a detailed and fascinating book that presents a balanced and sensitive telling of the difficult, troubled, and immensely productive and meaningful life of Agnes Martin, one of America's finest artists. I highly recommend this book to all who want to learn more about Martin's life and art.

I would have rated the book 5 stars except for an error that bothered me. On page 63 reference is made to "Aline Porter, a friend of Parsons (and wife of composer Eliot Porter)." Eliot Porter was a Harvard educated medical doctor who went on to become a highly respected photographer. He was not a composer of music. This was probably an isolated error, but it leaves one with the nagging suspicion there may be others.

Encounter in Rendlesham Forest: The Inside Story of the World's Best-Documented UFO Incident
Encounter in Rendlesham Forest: The Inside Story of the World's Best-Documented UFO Incident
by Nick Pope
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.80
53 used & new from $4.39

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Encountering the "Encounter in Rendlesham Forest", June 3, 2014
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"Encounter in Rendlesham Forest" offers the best documented account of what is the most convincing and significant UFO encounter to have occurred within the last fifty years. The authority of author Nick Pope, a former Deputy Director in the British Directorate of Defense Security and the former director of the British government’s UFO Project, lends a level of credibility to this writing not found in most books on the UFO subject. Likewise, the eyewitness accounts of co-authors, Jim Penniston and John Burroughs, further that credibility.

What Mr. Pope accomplishes is rare. He presents a convincing and verifiable paper trail from official military and government sources, both British and American, that establish beyond doubt that dozens of witnesses observed an unexplained and a highly unusual series of events which played out over three nights in December 1980, in the Rendelsham Forest between the twin RAF bases of Woodbridge and Bentwaters.

Notably missing in this book is any participation, as a co-author, by the USAF Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt, who was a principal witness to the event and at the time was the Deputy Base Commander at RAF Woodbridge. Nor does he seem to have endorsed this book. Nonetheless, much of what Colonel Halt has publicly stated and published is included, and it corroborates most of the story told by the other eyewitnesses.

I would have given a 5 star rating to this book, rather than 4, had Colonel Halt been one of the co-authors and had several of the less relevant and sparse reports of historic UFO cases been left out. They seemed extraneous. But this is one of the best books on the UFO subject and arguably the best on the Rendelsham Forest incident.

Fritz Scholder: Indian/Not Indian
Fritz Scholder: Indian/Not Indian
by Paul Chaat Smith
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from $28.99

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fritz Scholder, Beautiful Contradiction, May 17, 2009
Sometime in the 1970's, I saw a televised documentary on Fritz Scholder. In one scene the artist steps into into his studio where he selects a pre-stretched canvas and proceeds to paint in an explosion of creativity. The result was an image of an indian unlike any I had seen before. This was a raw, honest, direct and non-idealized impression of the American indian. It was unavoidably political even as it remained art of the highest order. This left an indelible impression. I have loved Scholder's work ever since.

"Fritz Scholder: Indian Not Indian, "by Lowery Stokes is a superb book. It is beautifully printed. The reproductions are well chosen and appropriate and the essays and commentary by: Kevin Gover, John Haworth, Lowery Stokes Sims, Paul Chaat Smith, Leslie Wasserberger, Richard W. Hill offer a well rounded perspective on the artist and his work.

Fritz Scholder was a man of contradictions with a dark and spiritual side. He was one quarter Luiseno indian, with a predominately German heritage. His father had been a Bureau of Indian Affairs administrator, but Fritz did not grow up on a reservation and for most of his career he did not paint indians or indian themes. Yet he became one of the first instructors at Institute of American Indian Arts, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I highly recommend to anyone with an interest in Fritz Scholder, painting, American Indians, the southwest and New Mexico.

Charles Harper's Birds and Words
Charles Harper's Birds and Words
by Charley Harper
Edition: Hardcover
35 used & new from $0.01

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charles Harper's Magnificent Birds, May 17, 2009
This small book is an absolute gem. A friend loaned her copy to my wife and I, knowing that both of us are artists. We loved it so much I immediately ordered a copy.

Charles Harper's ability to see the essence of a particular bird and render it with stunning beauty and exquisite simplicity is amazing. If you love birds, fine art, printmaking and design you will love this book. Buy it now, while you can. You will not regret the purchase.

Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom
Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom
by Stephen Wilkes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $72.00
43 used & new from $17.21

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hope and Decay, January 10, 2007
Stephen Wilke's "Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom" will haunt you.

You cannot look at the photographs in this book and remain unmoved.

If, as I have, you have seen the actual prints you know that no reproduction can match the originals. However, this publication by W.W. Norton and Company, comes as close as possible. The printing is excellent and the color is exquisite.

Wilkes takes the viewer and reader on a personal tour of the Ellis Island Hospital complex. These buildings have not been restored. His photographs, made between 1998 and 2003 reveal the rot, crumble, peel, sag and tumble of more than 50 years of abandonment. The photographer used no artificial lighting or other special techniques. His compositions are aesthetically masterful, compelling and charged with meaning.

The rooms he shows us are a testament to time's indifference. They are quiet now but far from empty. They are filled with the lingering air of fear, confusion, hope, and joy, left by those who once lived, breathed and sometimes died within them.

The ascendance of consumerism in America has encouraged us to become a throw away society. Wilkes confronts us with just how close we came to throwing away this important part of our national heritage--leaving the back wards of Ellis Island to become moldering heaps of refuse.

It is worth noting that Mr. Wilkes efforts were instrumental in saving these ruins from further desecration. Thanks to his work and that of the New York Landmarks Conservancy the United States Congress approved a six million dollar grant to help preserve what is left as a "living ruin."

This book is a tribute to those brave and frightened people who came to America seeking freedom and hope and a rebuke to those who would forget them.

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