Isamu Noguchi, with Akari Light Sculptures
By: Isamu Noguchi
Date: c. 1950
Source: The Isamu Noguchi Foundation, Inc., Long Island, New York.
A Sculptor's World
By: Isamu Noguchi
Source: Noguchi, Isamu. A Sculptor's World. New York: Harper & Row, 1968, 33, 159.
About the Artist: Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) was born in Los Angeles of Japanese and Irish-American heritage. From the age of two to fourteen he was raised in Japan, returning to the United States for high school. Noguchi intended to study medicine, but after night classes in New York he realized he wanted to be a sculptor. Working with natural materials such as granite, marble, and wood, Noguchi's organic forms were featured in diverse contexts from public gardens to theater sets.
Noguchi's first return trip to Japan after his long absence was in 1950, made possible by a Bollingen Foundation travel fellowship. His arrival there was met with fanfare, since at this time he already had an international reputation as one of the modernist...
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Larry Rivers and Frank O'Hara
Washington Crossing the Delaware
By: Larry Rivers
Source: Rivers, Larry. Washington Crossing the Delaware. Available online at http://www.emory.edu/ENGLISH/Paintings&Poems/Washington.jpg; website home page: http://www.emory.edu (accessed January 31, 2003).
About the Author: Larry Rivers (1924–2002) was an artist, writer, and teacher who first made a reputation for himself as a jazz saxophonist. He came to prominence for his figurative paintings, which combined highbrow and low culture; throughout his varied career his artwork consistently defied easy categorization.
"On Seeing Larry Rivers' Washington Crossing the Delaware
at the Museum of Modern Art"
By: Frank O'Hara
Source: O'Hara, Frank. "On Seeing Larry Rivers' Washington Crossing the Delaware at the Museum of Modern Art." Meditations in an Emergency. New York: Grove, 1957, 47. About the Author: Frank O'Hara (1926–1966) was a poet and playwright associated...
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Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy
Mary McCarthy to Hannah Arendt, August 10, 1954; Hannah Arendt to Mary McCarthy, August 20, 1954
By: Mary McCarthy and Hannah Arendt
Date: August 10 and August 20, 1954
Source: McCarthy, Mary, and Hannah Arendt. Between Friends: The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy, 1949–1975. New York: Harcourt: 1996, 18–27.
About the Authors: Mary McCarthy (1912–1989) was an essayist, critic, novelist, and short story writer who developed her literary reputation writing book reviews for The New Republic, The Nation, and Partisan Review. In addition to her autobiographical novel Memories of a Catholic Girlhood (1957), McCarthy wrote on a wide range of topics from art history to politics.
Hannah Arendt (1906–1975), a Jewish German-American philosopher and political theorist, was one of the most important intellectual figures of her time.
Mary McCarthy and Hannah Arendt first met in 1944, at the Murray Hill Bar in Manhattan. At the time, Arendt began to extend her reputation beyond the German-Jewish émigré intellectual community, as her writing began to appear in periodicals such as Commentary and Partisan Review....
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Pianist Glenn Gould
"Glenn Gould, Canadian Pianist"
By: Walter Homburger
Date: January 1955
Source: Homburger, Walter. "Glenn Gould, Canadian Pianist" advertising flyer. January 1955. National Library of Canada. Available online at ; website home page: http://www.gould.nlc-bnc.ca (accessed June 27, 2003).
"The Prospects of Recording"
By: Glenn Gould
Source: Gould, Glenn. "The Prospects of Recording." High Fidelity 16, no. 4, April 1966, 46–63.
About the Artist: Glenn Gould (1932–1982), one of the most fascinating classical music performers of the twentieth century, was born in Toronto, Canada. He entered the Royal Conservatory of music at the age of ten, graduating three years later, and made his United States debut in 1955. Though Gould's concerts were highly praised, he retired from the stage at age 32 to dedicate himself to the recording studio, as well as writing, broadcasting, composing, conducting, and experimenting with recording technology.
Glenn Gould was one of the...
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Art and Life of Lee Krasner
By: Lee Krasner
Source: Krasner, Lee. Prophecy. 1956. In the collection of Robert Miller Gallery, New York. Available online at http://naples.cc.sunysb.edu/CAS/pkhouse.nsf/prophecy.jpg?Op... ; website home page: http://naples.cc.sunysb.edu/CAS/PKHouse.nsf/pages/krasner (accessed June 6, 2003).
"A Conversation with Lee Krasner"
By: Lee Krasner
Source: Nemser, Cindy. "A Conversation with Lee Krasner." Feminist Art Journal, 1973. Reprinted in Art Talk: Conversations with Twelve Women Artists. New York: Charles Scriber's Sons, 1975, 91–97.
About the Artist: Lee Krasner (1908–1984) was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents were Russian Orthodox Jews who had emigrated to the United States and ran a grocery store. Krasner studied art in the New York area and by the 1930s her painting career was beginning to take off. Krasner was known for her keen intelligence and acerbic wit...
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"On a Book Entitled Lolita"
By: Vladimir Nabokov
Date: June 1957
Source: Nabokov, Vladimir. "On a Book Entitled Lolita." The Anchor Review, June 1957. Reprinted in Lolita. New York: Vintage Books, 1989, 311–315.
About the Author: Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977) was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and was educated in Western Europe. He wrote his early poetry, short stories, and novels in Russian. Emigrating to the United States in 1940, Nabokov published his first book in English, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, the following year. His best-known novel, Lolita, created much controversy and is considered a twentieth-century classic. Nabokov taught literature at Wellesley, Stanford, and Cornell between 1941 and 1959. He was also an eminent lepidopterist (one who studies butterflies). He died in Montreux, Switzerland.
Nabokov's story of the affair between a middle-aged male and a twelve-year-old girl has secured Lolita a place in pop mythology. In the novel, the protagonist and perpetrator Humbert Humbert, a European man in his late thirties, arrives in a quiet New England town. He takes a room in the house of a Mrs. Haze and her daughter, Dolores Haze. The narrator perceives her as "Lolita," the sexually...
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"Choreography and the Dance"
By: Merce Cunningham
Source: Cunningham, Merce. "Choreography and the Dance." The Creative Experience. Edited by Stanley Rossner and Lawrence E. Abt. New York: Grossman, 1970. Reprinted in Celant Germano, ed. Merce Cunningham. Milan, Italy: Edizioni Charta, 1999, 42–49.
About the Artist: Merce Cunningham (1919–) has been directing and choreographing for more than fifty years. He began his dance education in Seattle, Washington, and was a solo dancer in Martha Graham's company when he first arrived in New York City in 1939. Eventually he left Graham's company to pursue his own ideas of dance. He began to choreograph his dances, and formed the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at Black Mountain College in the summer of 1953. Since then Cunningham has created nearly two hundred works for his company as well as for the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and others.
Merce Cunningham left Martha Graham's company around 1945. Graham was part of the dance vanguard of the fifties that also included Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, and José Limón. Cunningham turned away from "modern" dance of the kind pioneered by Graham. Beginning in the 1920s, Graham had revolutionized modern dance by...
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Everything and Nothing: The Dorothy Dandridge Tragedy
By: Dorothy Dandridge
Source: Dandridge, Dorothy, and Earl Conrad. Everything and Nothing: The Dorothy Dandridge Tragedy. New York: Abelard-Schuman, 1970. Reprint. New York: Harper Collins, 2000, 179–183, 202–204.
About the Artist: Dorothy Jean Dandridge (1922–1965), singer and actress, was the first African American to receive a nomination for best actress. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the daughter of Cyril Dandridge, a laborer, and Ruby Butler. She was black-African and white-English on her father's side and Jamaican and Mexican on her mother's side. As a child, she and her older sister Vivian toured the United States as a song-and-dance act called The Wonder Kids, performing for Baptist churches. As a young woman in Los Angeles, Dandridge got her start as a popular cabaret singer before rising to fame for her screen performances in Carmen Jones (1954), An Island in the Sun (1956), and Porgy and Bess (1959). Actress Halle Berry's award-winning portrayal of Dandridge in a 1999 biographical film helped to bring Dandridge's tragic life story to a contemporary public that previously had little awareness of her.
Everything and Nothing tells of Dandridge's enormous...
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"Why I Wrote The Crucible"
By: Arthur Miller
Source: Miller, Arthur. "Why I Wrote The Crucible." The New Yorker, October 21 and 28, 1996, 158–164.
About the Author: Playwright Arthur Miller (1915–) was born in New York. He worked numerous odd jobs from truck driving to singing for a radio show before he studied journalism and playwriting. During the 1940s he produced a series of popular radio plays. His Pulitzer Prize-winning Death of a Salesman (1949) is one of America's best known dramatic works. He was married to Marilyn Monroe from 1956 to 1961. In 1957, Miller was convicted for contempt of Congress because he refused to divulge names of associates who were suspected Communists to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), and he was blacklisted from Hollywood. The conviction was eventually reversed. Miller has also written screenplays, essays, and short stories. His only novel, Focus, was published in 1945.
The Crucible is both a tragedy and an allegory based on actual events and persons. The play opens with a scene of teenaged girls dancing naked around a bonfire in the woods. The girls are discovered by an adult, Reverend Parris, who suspects them of wrongdoing. Urged to confess...
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Maria Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina
By: Maria Tallchief
Source: Tallchief, Maria, and Larry Kaplan. Maria Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1997, 185–190.
About the Artist: Maria Tallchief (1925–), ballerina and dance teacher, was a major force in bringing international fame and prestige to American ballet. Tallchief was born in Fairfax, Oklahoma, the daughter of an Osage chief. Her grandfather is credited with negotiating the Osage Treaty, which created the Osage Reservation in Oklahoma and resulted in oil revenues for some Osage people. Tallchief began dancing at age four. She studied with and was briefly married to legendary choreographer George Balanchine (1904–1983) of the New York City Ballet. She was its prima ballerina for eighteen years. Tallchief retired from dancing in 1965.
Based on a story by German writer E.T.A. Hoffmann, The Nutcracker begins at a bourgeois Christmas Eve party of children and parents. Marie, a young girl, has just received a nutcracker, her favorite new toy. Her brother Fritz breaks the nutcracker. Marie then has a dream, which begins as a nightmare in which the family Christmas tree grows to an enormous size and huge mice surround her menacingly....
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As Though I Had Wings: The Lost Memoir
By: Chet Baker
Source: Baker, Chet. As Though I Had Wings: The Lost Memoir. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997, 6–9, 13–15, 56.
About the Artist: Chesney Henry ("Chet") Baker (1929–1988) was a musician whose playing came to epitomize the West Coast "cool jazz" style. He was born in Yale, Oklahoma, and began playing the trumpet at age 13. In the 1950s he performed with other jazz greats such as Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins. He became popular as a vocalist, singing love ballads that, combined with his youthful good looks, made him enormously appealing to fans of both sexes. Baker's music career nearly ended in the 1960s when he had his front teeth knocked out after a botched drug deal. He died in Amsterdam, and in the early twenty-first century is considered a cult jazz figure.
Baker's father, Chesney Henry Baker, Sr., was a professional guitarist who was forced to turn to other work during the Depression. He bought his son a trombone and exchanged it for a trumpet when the larger instrument proved too cumbersome. Chet Baker played trumpet in his junior high school band, but had a hard time reading music and played largely by ear, a skill he developed and would rely on his entire life....
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"Ivan Moffat: The Making of Giant"
By: Ivan Moffat
Source: "Ivan Moffat: The Making of Giant." Interview by Martin Pitts. American Legends. September 11, 2000. Available online at http://americanlegends.com/Interviews/dean_moffat.htm; website home page: http://americanlegends.com/ (accessed February 26, 2003).
About the Author: Ivan Moffat (1918–2002) was born in Cuba. He studied at the London College of Economics and served in the Army during World War II. He was also part of the documentary film unit that covered the Allies' efforts in Europe. Moffat was nominated for an Academy Award with Fred Guiol for the screen adaptation of Edna Ferber's novel Giant (1956). His other screenwriting credits included: Black Sunday, The Wayward Bus, and Tender is the Night. He also served as associate producer on the films Shane (1953) and A Place in the Sun (1951).
George Stevens (1904–1975) had a distinguished reputation as filmmaker who had mastered multiple genres. He began as a cameraman shooting Laurel and Hardy comedies, and would be remembered for his own comic masterpiece The More the...
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