Synopses & Reviews
California has long nourished artists of all kinds: architect Frank Gehry, artist Judy Chicago, musician Don Henley, writer Larry Gelbart, cartoonist Matt Groening, sculptor Robert Graham, actress Carol Burnett, novelist John Rechy, composer George Winston, muralist Judith Baca, producer Norman Lear, choreographer Bella Lewitzky, screenwriter Robert Towne.
Some, like novelist Carolyn See, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, songwriter Randy Newman, artist Alexis Smith, and playwright David Henry Hwang, were born in California, but others came from afar for the light, space, natural beauty, and opportunity. With its frontier history and tradition of embracing experimentation, the Golden State encourages creative freedom unlike any other place in America. State of the Arts is the first book to examine and celebrate this phenomenon.
Award-winning arts writer Barbara Isenberg has interviewed more than fifty prominent painters, writers, composers, architects, directors, and performers about how they became artists and how living in California influences their work. Talking about then and now, public history and personal memory, they offer a kaleidoscopic view of the many ways that environment affects and nurtures the creative process.
Chronicling their reflections--from Dave Brubeck's childhood on a Concord ranch to Clint Eastwood's first memories of his beloved Carmel, from Luis Valdez's farmworkers' theater to Maxine Hong Kingston's writing of Chinese myth, from Joan Didion's tales of Sacramento to David Hockney's paintings of the Hollywood Hills--these wide-ranging and revealing conversations illuminate creative life in the land of plenty.
More than 50 prominent painters, writers, composers, and others offer their personal insights on the Golden State's creative magic. Featured artists include Carol Burnett, Clint Eastwood, Joan Didion, and Randy Newman.
About the Author
Barbara Isenberg has been writing about the arts for the Los Angeles Times since 1976 and is a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Author of the critically acclaimed Making It Big: The Diary of a Broadway Musical, she received a Distinguished Artists Award from the Los Angeles Music Center in 1991 and was a Getty Visiting Scholar in 1999-2000. She lives in Los Angeles.