August 9, 2007

Jubilee City: Joe Andoe's memoir at full speed

"JUBILEE CITY: A Memoir at Full Speed" by Joe Andoe. Illustrated. 207 pages. William Morrow. $22.95. Visit Joe's website

Amy Finnerty in The NYTimes Sunday Book Review: "He has a gift for ruthless analysis, and among the disjointed microchapters of his life story, there are exacting self-revelations every few pages. He describes his relationship with his beloved daughter this way: 'While I had huge Viking hammers, she required fine delicate Swiss watch tools and somebody with the motor skills to use them correctly.' Such tools he may lack, but now that he’s sobered up, he’s able to survey the car wreck of his early life and turn it into a kind of art." Read more.

Janet Maslin in the NYTimes: "Not every painter of lonely landscapes and stark, haunting creatures has a readable story to tell. But Mr. Andoe makes this book a natural offshoot of his art, combining cool understatement with brass-tacks candor. ‘Jubilee City is about a kid from the edge of town and his curiosity and hunt for some kind of ideal redneck grandiosity and how he operated and got by under a law of his own,' he writes. 'Mostly this book is a testament to weaving sticks and trash into something that can hang in a nice place.'"Read more.

AP writer Sara Rose reports: "Joe Andoe has led what is surely one of the most impossibly frustrating lives ever. The man is incapable of saying no and seems somewhat amazed that he is still alive and upright. But despite his personal life, he has won great acclaim in the art world. Andoe's utterly American, barren landscapes and portraits have found permanent homes in New York's the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art and The Whitney Museum of American Art, among many others and, over the last 25 years, his solo shows have spanned the globe....Basically, it all rings true, if exaggerated and idealized for effect. Every artist wants to be the real deal — the true artist born of a messy mix of suffering, grime, and addictions — and Andoe is no exception." Read more.

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