Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Life's Too Short For Nuance Perfect Paperback – August 8, 2008
|New from||Used from|
Perfect Paperback, August 8, 2008
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Part Daumier, part Shahn, part Lautrec, part Steadman and part sketchbook Rodin, Netter s mastery of Ashcan draftsmanship and satirical surrealism makes him a worthy heir to those fine artists from the 19th and 20th centuries whose social conscience, fused with the beauty of their craft, gave the artwork that they produced all the usability of frank, honest, and dangerously truthful conversation. --Mr. Fish (Harpers online, truthdig.com)
About the Author
Louis Netter is an accomplished artist and illustrator. He is a director at the New York Society of Etchers and has illustrated magazines, books and animations.
Top customer reviews
After decades of seeing innocent Americans being cynically manipulated, dumbed down, and distracted by politicians, preachers, the military-industrial complex and the mass media on behalf of the same old vested interests, it's refreshing to come across a young man with a clean, uncomplicated vision, the talent to express it and, most importantly, the courage to publish it.
Expressed in those terms Louis Netter's achievement sounds fairly unremarkable. It's only after considering what the big players have been publishing in recent times of multiple wars abroad and bitter strife at home--real life and death issues--that we can appreciate the importance of Netter's work. The American newspaper of record emails suscribers a weekly summary of its most-read articles, a fair indicator of what concerns their readers: travelogues, fashion, gossip, "pop culture" and other lickspittle drivel; this while Rome burns.
Then, midst this orgy of non-news black ops, there appears a plainspoken young man from Yonkers, N.Y., with fresh eyes and a clean heart, who appears to have only one serious defect: an irrepressible penchant for telling the truth. Netter exlained his motivation for creating this book in a recent interview for the World Printmakers website: "My book, Life's Too Short for Nuance, came about in 2004 after the reelection of W, and my realization that never again in my lifetime would there be such a perfect storm of ineptitude, corruption and balls-to-the-wall greed, and that I'd better get to work."
Netter's images are nicely adapted to his subject matter. Their lines are spontaneous, slashed onto the varnished zinc plate, then acid etched. They eloquently portray the Full Monty of American lowbrow politics and religion, its mind-numbing consumerism and gun-toting truculence. Netter's unforgettable bestiary of characters ranges from ghoulish and obese through vain and self satisfied to bloodthirsty and grasping. One is reminded of the finest tradition of American social commentary, that of Mark Twain in his later years, H.L. Mencken ("Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.), and Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman, chroniclers of the Nixon era, to name a few. And let's not forget a nod to Mad Magazine. Netter's illustrations might be construed as a logical evolution of some of the best of that magazine's work, substituting nitric acid for the Kool-Aid.
Netter makes no secret of his influences. In the same World Printmakers interview he declares: "My favorite artists are Grosz, Dix, Cruikshank, Hogarth, Ungerer, Lautrec, Sylvain Chomet, Nicholas de Crecy and Daniel Clowes, to name a few. I am interested in artists who have been able to interweave their conceptual world with their visual world." Thanks to the powerful language of art, Netter's book shares the universal appeal of his illustrious mentors. It can be understood and appreciated by people of virtually all cultures regardless of language, including, of course, his fellow Americans.
Of all the bright young people in the United States who can draw, what set of special circumstances gave rise to Louis Netter's uniquely biting and courageous take on the American scene? I think the answer lies in his unconventional point of view, "unconventional" in that it's far removed from the standard American unconscious, uncritical, distracted-by-hedonism, under-the-bell-jar viewpoint. Netter's father worked abroad--our artist was born in Paris--and his mother is Irish. Louis spent most of the summers of his youth in County Donegal in the northwest of Ireland, with his aunts, uncles and cousins. The values and customs of rural Ireland in those days were far removed from those of the American way of life.
Archimedes said, "Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough, and I will move the world." Louis Netter's "place to stand" is Donegal, and his lever is his prodigious talent for discerning and then drawing the absurdity and grotesqueness which surrround him--and by extension the rest of us--most of it merely tragicomic, but some of it actually evil. We are indebted to this young man from Yonkers not only for his talent and dedication, but for his honesty and audacity. Don't miss this book, nor those which will doubtless come after it. Netter is only 34 years old, a fresh value to discover now and cherish for years to come.
Netter's rage is barely contained within the etchings and pencil strokes that make up his art. While his subjects can be grotesqueries, there is no denying that the art itself is energized, vibrant, and compelling. The subjects really jump off the page, which is a trick, since one of the challenges of the medium is to create depth and energy. When you read this book, you are no passive observer; you are in up to your ears (and eyes).
I really can't say enough about the art in this glossy volume. Whether or not you agree with the artist's politics or convictions, the drawings and etchings are well worth the price of admission. Highly recommended to anyone interested in etching, portrait sketching and/or political illustration.