What Did I Do?: The Unauthorized Autobiography

Larry Rivers, Author, Arnold Weinstein, With
Larry Rivers, Author, Arnold Weinstein, With HarperCollins Publishers $30 (498p) ISBN 978-0-06-019007-1
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
Paperback - 978-0-06-099509-6
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-1-56025-319-8
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Rivers's exuberantly hip, sexually freewheeling autobiography displays his relentless, almost exhibitionistic candor, as some of his paintings do. Born Yitzroch Loiza Grossberg in 1923, he was raised in the Bronx by a hypercritical mother and a father reportedly guilty of bizarre sexual improprieties with children. A bebop jazz saxophonist with a heroin habit, Rivers abandoned his first wife and their sons in 1947. He later married his Welsh housekeeper, a ``deliciously unique female''; they separated in 1968. Written with playwright-director Weinstein, this gossipy collage dissects the incestuous social world of a New York avant-garde that included John Ashbery, Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Koch, Andy Warhol, LeRoi Jones and Delmore Schwartz. Rivers is most emotive when discussing his ``romantic fling'' with poet Frank O'Hara. Somewhere inside this messy self-portrait is the intriguing story of how Rivers found his path as a brash, innovative artist. Illustrated. 25,000 first printing; author tour. (Nov.)
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