From Publishers Weekly
The gatherings depicted within these pages initially appear to be the bridge parties of slightly bored, if typical, mid-century housewives; on closer inspection, it becomes apparent that these women-drinking, playing scrabble, smoking, knitting and mugging for the camera-are actually atypical mid-century men. The photos, presented sans accompanying text, are some of the 400 similar images Swope found at a New York flea market. Comprised of candid snapshots and posed portraits taken during the '50s and '60s at an upstate New York Victorian home dubbed "Casa Susanna" by its cross-dressing frequenters, the book includes photos of the ladies having tea, relaxing in the backyard and preening for pageants and holiday parties. As a social document, this collection of photos provides readers with direct access to the ladies as they seize upon and amplify their era's stereotypes of the womanly ideal. Equally intriguing as a record of atomic-age housewares, conservative housewife duds and the blushing interiors of a bygone era, the photos richly communicate the sense of solidarity among this cloistered group in pre-sexual revolution America.
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About the Author
was born in France and studied architecture in Paris. After concluding his studies, Hurst traveled the world extensively, researching and documenting various vernacular decorative arts. In 1985, he co-founded the influential twentieth century design gallery Full House in New York City with his partner Robert Swope, an artist—formerly of the musical group Beirut Slump, headed by Lydia Lunch—and filmmaker (Too Lazy to Live
). They live and work in Easton, Pennsylvania, and New York City.