Strange Bedfellows: The First American Avant-Garde

Steven Watson, Author Abbeville Press $19.98 (439p) ISBN 978-0-89659-934-5
This sweeping cultural history is a marvelous group portrait of a band of cultural renegades who, from 1913 to 1917, pioneered free verse, imagist poetry, cubism and abstract art, and brought modernism to music, drama and fiction. Hopping around geographically from New York City's Greenwich Village to Chicago's bohemia to Gertrude Stein's flat in Paris, Watson devises a framework encompassing such disparate figures as Ezra Pound, Vachel Lindsay, Harriet Monroe, Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz, the Provincetown Players, Wallace Stevens, Marsden Hartley and Marcel Duchamp. His intimate chronicle tracks the avant-garde's evolution from rebellion to commercial co-optation as a new elite. Included are some 200 photographs and art reproductions (20 in color), memorabilia and charts mapping the interconnections of the principals. Watson, a Manhattan psychologist, organized a traveling exhibition relating to the book. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Paperback - 440 pages - 978-1-55859-655-9
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