‘Spiritual Pioneering’: the Stieglitz circle and American art
Carolyn Burke will discuss her book, Foursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury. In her talk ‘Spiritual Pioneering’: the Stieglitz Circle and American Art, Carolyn examines how after the debacles of World War I, members of the circle gathered around Alfred Stieglitz as he looked to art as the way toward a more spiritually enlightened America—a credo embraced by the four artists whose stories are interwoven in Carolyn Burke’s Foursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury. Their goal, to save the country's soul by depicting it in terms attuned to its native shapes and colors, had been called into question but not abandoned. In the 1920s the young men who looked to Stieglitz as their guru—Strand, Paul Rosenfeld, Waldo Frank, and Herbert Seligmann--shared his messianic view of the arts, a secular version, some said, of their middle-class Jewish outlook. This talk offers an opportunity to consider the Jewish roots of the Stieglitz group’s rhetoric--its vision, as Waldo Frank wrote, of America as "a promise and a dream.”
Carolyn was born in Sydney, spent many years in Paris, and now lives in Santa Cruz, California. Her No Regrets: The Life of Edith Piaf (2011) has been translated into many languages including French. She has performed with singers of Piaf's repertoire in Paris, London, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Her Lee Miller: A Life (2006) was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a finalist for The National Book Critics Circle Award. Carolyn met Lee Miller when writing her first book, Becoming Modern: The Life of Mina Loy (1996): the biography of the expatriate artist/poet, it sparked a Mina Loy revival. Her writing has also appeared in such places as Poetry Flash, Art in America, Vogue, Heat, and The New Yorker.