By: Toni Morrison
Source: Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1970. Reprint, New York: Plume, 1994, 9–16.
About the Author: Toni Morrison (1931–) was born in Lorain, Ohio. She earned a B.A. in English and Classics from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1953 and an M.A. in English from Cornell in 1954. Morrison taught and worked as an editor at Random House before she began to publish. In 1993 Toni Morrison was the first African American woman awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. She is currently the Robert F. Goheen Professor at Princeton University.
Toni Morrison began writing The Bluest Eye as a story in 1962. It evolved into an idea for a novel in 1965, five years before it was published. Morrison frequently reflects on her writing practices in interviews and in articles. In the Afterward to the 1994 edition of The Bluest Eye, she writes about a child she knew in elementary school who wanted blue eyes, like Pecola Breedlove in the novel. She writes that "it was the first time I knew beautiful. Had imagined it for myself. Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do." The concept of the beautiful...
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"The Ladies Who Lunch"
By: Stephen Sondheim
Source: Sondheim, Stephen. "The Ladies Who Lunch." Company: A Musical Comedy. Winona, Minn.: Hal Leonard, 1970.
About the Artist: Stephen Sondheim (1930–) established his career as a lyricist with the musical West Side Story. He met Oscar Hammerstein, who became a mentor, when he was a child. Sondheim graduated from Williams College, where he studied music. He also studied with Milton Babbitt, an avantgarde composer. Sondheim's musicals include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Sweeney Todd (1979), and Into the Woods (1989).
Through the 1960s, audiences generally expected musicals to present linear stories of young lovers who overcame difficulty and ended up happily ever after. Company changed that formula. Instead of a linear story, writer George Furth wrote a series of episodes that portrayed five couples and their single friend Robert talking about various situations. The couples struggle through the ups and downs of marriage and relationships, while Robert, often referred to as Bobby, leads the swinging single life. The couples alternately worry about his lack of a permanent relationship or are jealous of his freedom. The...
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Bridge Over Troubled Water
By: Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel
Source: Simon, Paul, and Art Garfunkel. "Bridge Over Troubled Water." From the album Bridge Over Trouble Water. Original Release, 1970, Columbia KCS 9914, LP. Columbia CK9914, CD, 2001.
About the Artists: Paul Simon (1941–) and Art Garfunkel (1941–) met in the sixth grade. They began singing together when they were teenagers and released their first single, "Hey Schoolgirl," in 1957. They were a popular duo throughout the 1960s. Although they split to pursue solo careers in 1970, they occasionally reunite for a concert.
Popular music in the 1960s and 1970s included rock and roll, folk music, and a blend of both. Lyrics reflected a time when young people felt the alienation of the society. Political messages often were part of rock or folk music. Artists like Bob Dylan emerged and the Beatles remained popular. Timothy Scheuer comments, "The music was geared to a young audience, now...
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By: Don Siegel
Source: Dirty Harry. Originally released, 1971, Warner Brothers. Directed by Don Siegel. DVD/VHS, 2001, Warner Studios.
About the Artist: Don Siegel (1912–1991) was born in Chicago. He began his career as an actor but switched to directing in 1945. Siegel was known as an action movie specialist, directing for the theater and for television. He won two Oscars in 1946: for Star in the Night, a short subject, and for Hitler Lives?, a documentary.
Harry Callahan, the fictional vigilante San Francisco cop, first appeared in 1971. Don Siegel cast Clint Eastwood in the role after Paul Newman it turned down. Siegel and Eastwood had worked together for years on other films.
The cop action film was a new genre in 1971, with the time period contributing to the story line of the film. Character is built through Harry's actions and through long silences when Harry observes what is going on around him and at crime scenes. The film opens scrolling through a list of the names of San Francisco policeman killed in the line of duty. The serial killer, Scorpio, is loosely based on the Zodiac Killer, who murdered several people in California in the late 1960s and...
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Nixon and McGovern: Statements on the Arts
By: George McGovern; Leonard Garment
Source: McGovern, George. Letter to Donald R. Wall; Garment, Leonard. Letter to Donald R. Wall. "Nixon and McGovern: Statements on the Arts." Art in America 60, no. 6, November-December 1972, 56–57.
About the Authors: George McGovern (1922–), born in Avon, South Dakota, was a professor of history and political science before entering politics. He served as both the Representative and Senator from South Dakota in the U.S. Congress. He was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for president in 1972. He is known for his liberal views and opposition to the Vietnam War.
Leonard Garment (1924–), an attorney, was special counsel to President Richard M. Nixon (served 1969–1974) throughout Nixon's presidency. He met Nixon when they both worked for a Wall Street law firm.
Donald R. Wall, the publisher of Art in America, asked the presidential nominees of the 1972 campaign to provide statements about what they would do for the arts in their administration. The statements appeared in the November-December issue of the magazine, almost too late for the November general election.
Art in America is a magazine...
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By: Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Source: Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The Valley Curtain. Available online at ; website home page: http://christojeanneclaude.net (accessed March 18, 2003).
About the Artists: Christo Javacheff (1935–) was born in Bulgaria and moved to the United States in 1964. Christo trained at the Fine Arts Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria, and the Vienna Fine Arts Academy in Austria. Jeanne-Claude de Guillebon (1935–) studied Latin and Philosophy at the University of Tunis. They work as a team to create works of art. They have one son, Cyril, who is a poet.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude are primarily known for the temporary art installments they construct. Beginning in the early 1960s, they conceived and created art that made political and social statements. In 1962, a "Wall of Oil Drums" was constructed in Paris, a work that resembled the iron curtain. In 1969, "Wrapped Coast" in
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By: Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo
Source: The Godfather. Original release 1972, Paramount. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. VHS, 2002, Paramount Studio; Godfather DVD Collection [includes parts I, II, and III], 2001, Paramount Home Video.
About the Artist: Francis Ford Coppola (1939–), director and writer, was born in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up near New York City in a large Italian American family. His father was a concert flautist, and his mother was an actress. After attending Hofstra College in Hempstead, New York, Coppola earned a film degree from the University of California Los Angeles. His Zoetrope Studios produces large and small films, his Niebaum-Coppola Estate produces and markets wine, and the Café Niebaum-Coppola is a combination wine bar, café, and retail store with locations in San Francisco and Palo Alto, California. Coppola won an Academy Award in 1972 for Best Director of The Godfather.
Mario Puzo (1920–1999) was a novelist and screenwriter. Born in New York, he attended the New School for Social Research and then Columbia University. He served in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. Puzo wrote his best-selling novel The Godfather in 1969. Puzo received an Academy Award for his...
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The Stages of Joseph Papp
By: Stanley Kauffmann
Source: Kauffmann, Stanley. "The Stages of Joseph Papp." The American Scholar 44, no.1, Winter 1974–75, 110, 116–121.
About the Author: Stanley Kauffmann (1916–) is a film and theater critic for The New Republic. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1935 from New York University. His work also appears in Saturday Review, The American Scholar, and Salmagundi. Kauffmann has taught classes in film and theater and written several books on the subjects. He was awarded the George Jean Nathan Award in 1972–73 for dramatic criticism, and the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1979–80.
Stanley Kauffmann called theatrical producer Joseph Papp (1921–1991) the most important figure in American theater in the 1970s. Papp, born to immigrant parents, served in the U.S. Navy and then returned to New York City. His love of theater and especially for Shakespeare was evident long before the 1970s.
Like the mission of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) programs funded by the federal government, Joseph Papp had a vision to include all people in theater. Papp noted the changing demographics of New York City and realized the need to...
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By: Mel Brooks
Source: Young Frankenstein. Original release, 1974, Twentieth Century Fox. Directed by Mel Brooks. Special Edition, DVD/VHS, 2001, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
About the Artist: Mel Brooks (1926–) is a comedian, writer, actor, film director, and producer. Born Melvin Kaminsky in New York, he is the son of a process server and a garment worker. He worked as a stand-up comic. As a teen, Brooks learned to play drums from Buddy Rich. He wrote television scripts for Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows during the 1950s. Along with Buck Henry, Brooks created the 1965 TV
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By: Stephen King
Source: King, Stephen. Carrie: A Novel of a Girl with a Frightening Power. New York: Doubleday, 1974.
About the Author: Stephen King (1947–) was born in Portland, Maine. At the age of twelve he and his brother bought a mimeograph machine and published a small newspaper for which they charged five cents per copy. King earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1970 from the University of Maine at Orono. Before becoming a well-known author, King worked at a laundry service and as a gas station attendant, and taught high school. He has also written several novels under the pseudonym "Richard Bachman."
Stephen King does not remember a time when he did not write. Prior to publishing his first novel, Carrie, King had published seven short horror stories. He also had four novels rejected. He was close to giving up on his dream of writing when the idea for Carrie came to him. It began as a short story partially on a dare to write a believable female character. His wife helped him realize the potential for a novel.
King often relies on the everyday experiences in life to create his gothic worlds. For Carrie, he used the world of high school, one that he...
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"Born to Run"
By: Bruce Springsteen
Source: Springsteen, Bruce. "Born to Run." Available online at ; website home page: http://brucespringsteen.net/ (accessed April 7,2003).
About the Artist: Bruce Springsteen (1949–), musician and songwriter, was born in Freehold, New Jersey. He is the son of a bus driver and of a secretary. He attended Ocean City College. The Grammy winning artist formed his first band in 1965. The Bruce Springsteen Band, later called the E Street Band, released its debut album in 1973. He won a Gold Record from the Recording Institute Association of America in 1975 for "Born to Run." Springsteen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.
Bruce Springsteen's working class roots infused his songs, along with an eclectic mix of musical influences. The rock and roll of 1950s icons such as Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry blended with the poetic lyrics of Bob Dylan and Van Morrison to provide a basis for the music of Bruce Springsteen. Ed Ward writes that "he dared to be uneven" in an industry that was "releasing uniformly smooth, accommodating product." Being compared to Dylan did not initially prove to be an asset to Springsteen, however. The reviewer...
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By: Robert Altman
Source: Altman, Robert. "Nashville." Interview by Connie Byrne and William O. Lopez. Film Quarterly 29, no. 2, Winter 1975–76, 14–17.
About the Artist: Robert Altman (1925–) was born in Kansas City, Missouri. Following a brief career in the U.S. Air Force, he was employed by the Calvin Company to create employee training films as well as industrial and sports documentaries. In the late 1950s Altman directed episodes of the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and in the 1960s he directed episodes of The Millionaire, Bonanza, and Kraft Suspense Theater. Some of his notable feature films are Countdown (1968), A Perfect Couple (1979), Popeye (1980), Short Cuts (1993), and Gosford Park (2001).
Robert Altman may be one of the best and most individual film directors in the country. Helene Keysser wrote that he "recognizes that we enjoy our despair in who we are." The director of the 1975 film Nashville, Altman has been described as one who makes films that viewers remember long after they have exited the theater.
Although he had been directing films since the 1940s, Altman's breakthrough...
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Isaac Bashevis Singer—Nobel Lecture
By: Isaac Bashevis Singer
Date: December 8, 1978
Source: Singer, Isaac Bashevis. "Isaac Bashevis Singer—Nobel Lecture." Available online at http://www.nobel.se/literature/laureates/1978/singer-lectur... ; website home page: http://www.nobel.se/ (accessed April 9, 2003).
About the Author: Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904–1991) was born in Radzymin, Poland, the son of a rabbi. He taught Hebrew as a teenager, and in the 1920s translated novels and nonfiction works by authors such as Thomas Mann and Knut Hamsun into Yiddish. He attended the Tachkemoni Rabbinical Seminary, in Warsaw, Poland, from 1920–23. In 1935 he immigrated to the United States, becoming a citizen in 1943 and settling in New York. Singer was a writer of novels, short stories, and children's books as well as a translator. He won awards for writing in every category, including receiving the National Endowment for the Arts grant, 1967; Newbery Honor Book Award, 1968, for The Fearsome Inn; National Book Award for Children's Literature, 1970, for A Day of Pleasure; and the Children's Book Showcase Award, Children's Book Council, 1972, for Alone in the Wild Forest. Singer won the Nobel Prize...
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The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Twenty Years Later
By: Richard Philp
Source: Philp, Richard. "The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Twenty Years Later." Dance Magazine 52, October 1978, 63–77.
About the Author: Richard N. Philp (1943–) was educated at the University of North Carolina (1965) and Yale University (1968), and has been an editor at Dance Magazine since 1970, including more than eleven years as its editor-in-chief. A member of the founding board of directors of the World Dance Alliance, Philp has authored, co-authored, and edited several books in the field of dance, including Dansuer: The Male in Ballet (1977), To Move, To Learn (1978), and Memoirs of a Dancer: Shadows of the Past, Dreams That Came True, Memories of Yesterdays (1979). He has also served on the faculty of the summer dance festivals at the University of Wyoming. Philp received an award from the Society of Publication Designers, 1974, in recognition of his work at Dance Magazine.
Alvin Ailey (1931–1989) began life as a poor boy in Texas. He moved around with his mother, finally settling in California, where he discovered he had a love and gift for dance. Like Arthur Mitchell, his contemporary, Ailey started his career during...
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"A Woman Speaks"
By: Audre Lorde
Source: Lorde, Audre. "A Woman Speaks." In The Black Unicorn: Poems by Audre Lorde. New York: Norton, 1978, 4–5.
About the Author: Audre Lorde (1934–1992) was frequently quoted as identifying herself as a "black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet." A graduate of Columbia University and Hunter College, Lorde was a speaker and activist for women's voices being heard. Her struggles with cancer are documented in the 1980 volume, The Cancer Journals. New York governor Mario Cuomo appointed Lorde State Poet in 1991. She died of liver cancer the following year.
Audre Lorde was the child of immigrants. During her childhood she had to attempt to merge the worlds of her parents, who were from Grenada, with the life around her in New York City. In Mari Evans's study of African American women writers, Audre Lorde wrote that her works spoke for "those women who do not speak, who do not have verbalization because they, we, are so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We've been taught to respect our fears, but we must learn to respect ourselves and our needs." She also acknowledged the care that needed to be taken not to make the African American woman, or...
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Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party
The Dinner Party: A Symbol of Our Heritage
By: Judy Chicago
Source: Chicago, Judy. The Dinner Party: A Symbol of Our Heritage New York.: Doubleday, 1979.
The Dinner Party
Work of art
By: Judy Chicago
Source: Chicago, Judy. The Dinner Party: The Brooklyn Museum, October 18, 1980–January 18, 1981. Brooklyn, N.Y.: The Brooklyn Museum, 1980.
About the Artist: Judy Chicago (1939–), writer and artist, was born Judy Cohen in Chicago, Illinois. While attending the University of California-Los Angeles, where she earned a B.A. in 1962 and an M.F.A. in 1964, she studied traditional art and sculpture. However, Chicago is best known for her feminist art. At the California Institute of Arts in 1971 she helped to establish the Feminist Art Program at that school. She was named Outstanding Woman of the Year in Art by Mademoiselle magazine in 1973, and received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1976 and 1977.
Judy Chicago developed the idea for The Dinner...
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Einstein on the Beach
By: Tim Page
Source: Page, Tim. "Einstein on the Beach." Commentary in booklet accompanying Einstein on the Beach, composed by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson. Performed by the Philip Glass Ensemble. CD, 1993.
About the Author: Tim Page (1954–) is the author of several books related to classical music, including The Glenn Gould Reader (1990), Music From the Road (1992), William Kappell: A Documentary Life History of the American Pianist (1992), and Tim Page on Music: Views and Reviews (2002). He has also provided informative notes in booklets accompanying many recordings of classical music, most notably in Sony's "Bernstein Century" series, and has contributed to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Page won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished music criticism in 1997.
Music critics adopted the art history term "minimalist" to describe the music that composers such as La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass began writing in the 1960s. Like artists, composers turned away from traditional forms to experiment and create something unique. This group of composers studied and was influenced by non-western music, including music from India and Africa....
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