Abby Wasserman
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Mary Tuthill Lindheim: Art and InspirationMary Tuthill Lindheim: Art and Inspiration

MARY TUTHILL LINDHEIM: ART AND INSPIRATION is the first book on the American sculptor, ceramist, and teacher Mary Tuthill Lindheim (1912- 2004), who helped awaken the art world of 1950s San Francisco to the legitimacy and potential of clay as a fine art medium. For more information, click here.

Praise, Vilification and Sexual Innuendo or, How to Be a Critic, by Abby WassermanPraise, Vilification and Sexual Innuendo or, How to Be a Critic: The Selected Writings of John L. Wasserman, 1964-1979

Published by Chronicle Books in 1991, this compendium of John L. Wasserman's columns and reviews and narrative sections about his colorful and flamboyant life is a kaleidoscope of the '60s and '70s in San Francisco.

John, Abby's older brother, wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle during the years 1964 to 1979. He wrote about the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Bill Graham, and the Jefferson Airplane; about Michael McClure, The Committee, and Beach Blanket Babylon; about Blaze Starr and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Honeysuckle Divine. He reviewed the Mitchell Brothers' porn films and Woody Allen's comedies. He was friends with Lily Tomlin, Steve Martin, Clint Eastwood and Joan Baez. Many writers, including Patricia Holt, Stephanie Salter, Curt Gentry, Cyra McFadden and Ron Fimrite, admired his columns and reviews, and have praised the book for capturing John's spirit.

Included are more than 90 of his pieces--reviews of “movies that suck,” ecstatic columns on jazz greats, his tongue-in-cheek "How To Be a Critic" series, and his partly fact, partly fictional slams of Tom Jones, the Osmond Brothers and Wayne Newton.

Each thematic chapter is introduced with a narrative by Abby based on her interviews with more than 100 people who knew John. Her introductions set this remarkable writer and humorist in the context of his family, city and era. For an excerpt, click here.

Praise, Vilification can be ordered from used book websites.

The Spirit of Oakland, by Abby WassermanThe Spirit of Oakland

Abby Wasserman worked at the Oakland Museum of California 14 years as a writer, editor and publicist. In 1999 she was asked to do a book on the history of Oakland.

Selecting a multicultural theme in keeping with Oakland's multicultural history, she hired 13 writers, most of them from Oakland. Among the chapters are: Art (Karen Tsujimoto); Chinatown (William Wong); African Americans (Mary Ellen Butler); Literature (Joan Boer); Politics (Brenda Payton); Shellmounds (Sandra Sher); Native Peoples (Susan Lobo); Californios and Latinos (Chiori Santiago); the Waterfront (Michael Dobrin); the Airport (Bob Middleton); Sports (Philip Mumma); Gardens (Erika Mailman); Libraries (William Sturm, who was also the consulting historian); Music and Dance (Chiori Santiago); and more. Abby wrote the preface and contributed to a number of the chapters as well as overseeing the project and editing the whole. Historian Charles Wollenberg wrote a projection for Oakland's future.

Diane Curry, formerly of the Oakland Museum of California, is Photo Editor of this lavishly illustrated book.

Published in 2000 by the Oakland Museum of California and Heritage Media Corporation, The Spirit of Oakland is one of a few substantive books about Oakland history. It has been praised by historian L. Thomas Frye, and quoted by Oakland writer and MacArthur Fellow Ishmael Reed. For an excerpt, click here.

The book is available in libraries and on the internet.

Portfolio, by Abby WassermanPortfolio

For her first book (1986), Abby interviewed 11 Native American artists who showed work at American Indian Contemporary Arts in San Francisco, and wrote a series of lyrical essays. Portfolio, now out of print, features: painter Rick Bartow, sculptor Larry Beck, painter Charley Burns, mixed media artist Joe Fedderson, sculptor Leonard Harmon, sculptor John Hoover, sculptor Edna Davis Jackson, painter Jack Malotte, painter P.Y. Minthorn, ceramicist Lillian Pitt, wood sculptor/mask maker James Schoppert. AICA co-Director (with Janeen Antoine) Kenneth Banks wrote the Introduction. Since its publication these artists have become even more well-known. They are only a few of the Native American artists, many with MFAs, who incorporate traditional themes and subject matter into highly contemporary work. Sadly, Leonard Harmon, James Schoppert and Rick Bartow have since passed away.

The book was designed by Ed Marquand and published by American Indian Contemporary Arts. For an excerpt, click here.

All text and images © 2005-2016 Abby Wasserman unless otherwise stated