Coit Tower Book

'Coit Tower: Its History and Art' John McMurtrie

Sunday, January 4, 2009

There could be no better time - amid federal bailouts of shady mortgage brokers and gas-guzzler manufacturers - to be reminded of the Public Works of Art Project, the inspired 1930s program that aided artists and brought us, among its first initiatives, the murals of Coit Tower. The murals, as well as the history of the 75-year-old tower, come to life in a slim but informative paperback update of a 1983 book, Coit Tower, San Francisco: Its History and Art (Volcano Press; 123 pages; $27.95). Written by Masha Zakheim (daughter of Bernard Zakheim, one of the 26 artists who painted the murals), the book includes dozens of handsome color photographs by Don Beatty. The tower's frescoes breathe with the hustle and bustle of city life, and they honor the dignity of laborers and farmers across the state. The art's communal, industrious spirit set an uplifting example during the Great Depression, and, with any luck, it might again today. This article appeared on page M - 5 of the San Francisco Chronicle Read more:

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