What Did I Do?

What Did I Do? : The Unauthorized Autobiography

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If modern art is the twentieth century's biography, then this autobiography of one of its pivotal figures is a unique record of our times. Larry Rivers' dazzlingly intelligent testimony takes us through the more than four decades of New York's postwar cultural explosion, telling what it was like for the artists and jazz musicians and poets and playwrights. And his honest exploration of the place of the erotic in his life and work - with all the accompanying excesses, costs, and entanglements - gives his stunning account of the journey a particular power.His talent and imagination enabled Rivers early on to discover and pursue multiple vocations, and to create a liberated self while maintaining an attachment, in his seemingly anarchic work, to the claims of tradition. Rivers started in his Bronx adolescence with a name change and a career (still in progress) as a jazz saxophonist and composer. Painting and sculpture came later, and soon there were one-man exhibitions and a stream of works, many of them now in the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, the Corcoran, the National Gallery, the Guggenheim, museums abroad, and private collections. A great figurative painter, Rivers is also acclaimed as a precursor of pop art; an artist with an unashamed interest in sexuality and the private moment, he is also celebrated for bringing history back into contemporary painting - from his own famous version of Washington Crossing the Delaware to the pictorial story of the Jews in The History of Matzoh and the somber set of large portraits of Primo Levi.Aside from his major work as a painter, Rivers has written poetry, acted in plays and films, designed sets, illustrated books, and collaborated with writer friends. Along the way there have been marriages and children, affairs and addictions, comic and farcical happenings, sadness and tragedy - all unfolded in a full, richly creative narrative. Candid, thoughtful, and funny, this amazing book is surely destined to take its place among the finest of artists' memoirs.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 498 pages
  • HarperCollins
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • illustrations (some colour)
  • 0060190078
  • 9780060190071

Rating details

50 ratings
4.02 out of 5 stars
5 34% (17)
4 38% (19)
3 26% (13)
2 0% (0)
1 2% (1)
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