Regina Marler is the author of Bloomsbury Pie: The Making of the Bloomsbury Boom. She edited Queer Beats: How the Beats Turned America on to Sex and Selected Letters of Vanessa Bell. (July 2020)


A Connoisseur of Yearning

Carson McCullers, Columbus, Georgia, 1941

My Autobiography of Carson McCullers

by Jenn Shapland
Carson McCullers, who once loomed large in the mid-twentieth-century literature of the South, now seems the smallest bird on the branch that holds William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, Truman Capote, Richard Wright, and McCullers’s close friend Tennessee Williams. Her precocious talent survived her turbulent marriage, her fragile health, and …

Al & Georgia & Beck & Paul

Foursome: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Strand, Rebecca Salsbury

by Carolyn Burke

Alfred Stieglitz: Taking Pictures, Making Painters

by Phyllis Rose
Two recent books examine the lives of Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe and their astonishingly productive marriage. Carolyn Burke’s group biography, Foursome, explores the friendship and mutual influence between two creative couples: Stieglitz and O’Keeffe, and the photographer Paul Strand and his first wife, the painter Rebecca Salsbury. While Burke has four narrative threads to weave—and does so with dexterity—Phyllis Rose, in Alfred Stieglitz: Taking Pictures, Making Painters, has only one, to which she brings her characteristic wit and vivacity, offering a fascinating counterpoint to Foursome.

Shock Artistry

Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel, 1994

Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel

an exhibition at the New Museum, New York City, September 26, 2018–January 20, 2019; and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, June 9–September 1, 2019
The art of the British sculptor Sarah Lucas seems to operate on a sliding scale between anger and whimsy. At one end are works like Receptacle of Lurid Things (1991), a life-size flesh-colored wax cast of what we assume to be a middle finger—raised at the art audience? At patriarchy? …

‘Every Time I Look at It I Feel Ill’

René Magritte: Personal Values, 1952

René Magritte: The Fifth Season

an exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, May 19–October 28, 2018
In October 1952, René Magritte’s New York dealer, Alexander Iolas, a champion of the Surrealists in the United States and elsewhere, wrote him in protest. He had recently unpacked Personal Values (1952), the first of what are sometimes called Magritte’s hypertrophic images, in which oversized objects appear to crowd their …

Pictures of the Jazz Age

Berenice Abbott: A Life in Photography

by Julia Van Haaften

Paris Portraits: 1925–1930

by Berenice Abbott, edited by Ron Kurtz and Hank O’Neal
Berenice Abbott had starved in New York and was starving in Paris when Man Ray hired her for his darkroom. It was Abbott’s idea. He had complained about his latest “know-it-all” studio assistant, and Abbott jumped in: “What about me? I don’t know a thing.” Her rapid learning surprised them both. “I liked photography. Photography liked me,” she recalled. Eventually Ray suggested that she take some portraits with his camera during lunch and after work. Starting with her friends, a glittering roster of Jazz Age Paris sat for Abbott, including Sylvia Beach, Jean Cocteau, Djuna Barnes and her lover Thelma Wood (Abbott’s ex), André Gide, Buddy Gilmore, Max Ernst, Marie Laurencin, and Janet Flanner.

In the Cauldron at Midnight

Leonora Carrington with André Breton, Marcel Duchamp, and Max Ernst, New York City, 1942; photograph by Hermann Landshoff. At center is Morris Hirshfield’s painting Nude at the Window (1941).

Farewell to the Muse: Love, War and the Women of Surrealism

by Whitney Chadwick

Down Below

by Leonora Carrington, with an introduction by Marina Warner
Can a woman be a muse and an artist? In theory, yes. In practice, the roles seldom overlap comfortably. “All that means is you’re someone else’s object,” as Leonora Carrington put it.