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Hamptons Bohemia: Two Centuries of Artists and Writers on the Beach Hardcover – April 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; First Edition edition (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811833763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811833769
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #855,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An unspoiled coastline bathed in spectacular light--just far enough from Manhattan bustle--made the Hamptons seductive for generations of creative types. Hamptons Bohemia: Two Centuries of Artists and Writers on the Beach is an entertaining survey of the personalities who found a summer or year-round haven on the southeastern end of Long Island. Numerous color photographs--of artworks, personalities, and landscape views--offer inviting glimpses of the shifting tides of culture. The story begins with early 19th-century figures like James Fenimore Cooper, who abandoned a failing whaling business to take up writing novels. Then came the genteel landscape painters with their portable easels and sunshades. By the 1950s (the era of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, and many others), bohemia was in full swing. Since then the Hamptons have become a clubby getaway for artists who've already made it, from Kurt Vonnegut to Julian Schnabel. --Cathy Curtis

From Publishers Weekly

Though the title may provoke a good-natured scoff in people familiar with Long Island's tony, increasingly suburban East End, this lovely coffee-table volume, which charts the area's history of "artistic and literary activity," shows how decades of luminaries found either solitude or community (or both) in this "place that engages one's capacity for wonder." Harrison, director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in East Hampton, and Denne, a professor at Baruch College, begin with the earliest known inhabitants, the Algonquin Indians, and devote a chapter on the American Barbizon painters in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but the book's heart lies in its narrative of the writers and artists who descended on the South Fork in more recent years. From the 1940s and '50s Fernand L‚ger, Jackson Pollock, John Steinbeck and Jean Stafford to the 1960s and '70s Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Kurt Vonnegut and E.L. Doctorow the authors recount beach excursions, gallery openings, art happenings and writers vs. artists softball games in breezy prose interspersed with wonderful photographs: Joseph Heller on the beach, Robert Motherwell in his Quonset hut. There's also gossip and hearsay (Willem de Kooning's daily check to see that Pollock, his former rival, was still buried in Green River Cemetery), and poem excerpts (Patsy Southgate, writing an elegy for Frank O'Hara after his death in a beach accident, longs for "those arrogant days/ before your grave"). For anyone who's ever driven east on the Long Island Expressway in summer, or wondered what life was like in "America's premier art mecca," this volume is as simple and pleasurable as a stroll down a Bridgehampton lane.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Helen A. Harrison is an art historian, museum director and journalist who specializes in modern American art. A native of New York City, she received an A.B in studio art from Adelphi University, and studied sculpture at the Brooklyn Museum School of Art and Hornsey College of Art in London. She also holds an M.A. in art history from Case Western Reserve University, where her research focused on the New Deal federal art patronage programs.

In 1990, after serving as Curator of the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, New York, Director of the Public Art Preservation Committee in Manhattan, and Curator of Guild Hall Museum in East Hampton, New York, Harrison became Director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, a National Historic Landmark and research collection in East Hampton that is administered by the Stony Brook Foundation, a non-profit affiliate of Stony Brook University. She has also been a Guest Curator at the Queens Museum of Art in Flushing, New York, has taught at the School of Visual Arts, and currently holds an adjunct faculty position in Stony Brook's Department of Art, Art History and Art Criticism.

From 1978-2006, Harrison wrote art reviews and feature articles for the Long Island section of The New York Times. She was the visual arts commentator for WLIU 88.3 FM, Long Island University's NPR-affiliated radio station, from 2004-2009. Her articles, essays and reviews have appeared in numerous scholarly and popular publications, including the Journal of American Studies (U.K.), Prospects, the Archives of American Art Journal, American Art, Provincetown Arts, and Winterthur Portfolio. She writes a monthly column, "Eye on Art," for the Sag Harbor Express.

Harrison is the author of many exhibition catalogues and chapters in several multi-author publications, including Abstract Expressionism: The International Context (Rutgers University Press, 2007), Remembering the Future (Rizzoli, 1989), and The American Art Book (Phaidon, 1999), for which she wrote 110 entries. Her books include Dawn of a New Day: The New York World's Fair 1939/40 (New York University Press, 1980), a monograph on the artist Larry Rivers (Harper & Row, 1984), an anthology, Such Desperate Joy: Imagining Jackson Pollock (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2000), Hamptons Bohemia: Two Centuries of Artists and Writers on the Beach with co-author Constance Ayres Denne (Chronicle Books, 2002), and The Jackson Pollock Box (Cider Mill Press/Simon & Schuster, 2010). She is currently at work on a Jackson Pollock monograph that will be published by Phaidon in 2014. She lives with her husband, the artist Roy Nicholson, in Sag Harbor, New York.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
It's no surprise that artists and writers were among the first to be inspired by the natural beauty of the Hamptons. It's also no surprise that celebrities, hangers-on, and wannabees followed soon after. What some may not know is that the Hamptons exerted their draw on the creative community long before Jackson Pollock and his pals put it on the map. This book eloquently conveys the allure of this magical place and the entertaining goings-on that occur when the world's finest artists and writers intermingle.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Abigail P. Stokes on May 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was given this book as a "must have" gift. So very true. The stories and photos are sublime. I'll never look at this place in the same way. Highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"Hamptons Bohemia" is a lovely coffee table book, but it is much more than that. It is a well-researched, thorough history of the artistic life of the Hamptons from the 18th Century to the present day.
The illustrations were an important part of my enjoyment of this book. Almost every page contains a painting by a Hamptons artist, or an offbeat photograph of a group of Hamptons writers or painters. And the illustrations are beautifully done.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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