Creative Gatherings: Meeting Places of Modernism
Mary Ann Caws
Reaktion Books, 2019
Art is seen as a solitary, even a reclusive, endeavor. But visual artists, writers, and musicians often find themselves energized by a collective environment. Sharing ideas around a table has always provided a starting, and a continuing, place for fruitful exchanges between artists of all kinds.
In her wide-ranging new book, Mary Ann Caws explores a rich variety of gathering places, past and present, which have been conducive to the release and sustenance of creative energies. Creative Gatherings surveys meeting locations across Europe and the United States, from cityscapes to island hideouts, from private homes to public cafes and artists’ colonies. Examples include Florence Griswold’s house in Old Lyme, Connecticut, meeting place of the Old Lyme Art Colony; Prague’s Le Louvre café, haunt of Kafka and Einstein; Picasso’s modernist hangout in Barcelona, Els Quatre Gats; Charleston, gathering place of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa and Duncan Bell; and the cafés of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Montparnasse: the hangouts of Apollinaire, Sartre, and Patti Smith. Interweaving two hundred examples of collaborative artworks throughout the text, with more than one hundred in color, Creative Gatherings is a beautiful, erudite commingling as inspiring as the gathering places Caws depicts.