Weekend Utopia: Modern Living in the Hamptons

Overview

The Hamptons, New York's fashionable summer beach resorts, are well known as weekend havens for city-dwellers who relish their idyllic setting on the Atlantic shore. Once quiet agricultural land, Eastern Long Island first became popular among artists, architects, writers, and society patrons in the 1920s, when it served as a breeding ground for modernism. From the avant-garde influence of luminaries like Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, and Willem de Kooning, to the high modernism of Le Corbusier, Philip ...
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Overview

The Hamptons, New York's fashionable summer beach resorts, are well known as weekend havens for city-dwellers who relish their idyllic setting on the Atlantic shore. Once quiet agricultural land, Eastern Long Island first became popular among artists, architects, writers, and society patrons in the 1920s, when it served as a breeding ground for modernism. From the avant-garde influence of luminaries like Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, and Willem de Kooning, to the high modernism of Le Corbusier, Philip Johnson, and Richard Meier, new ideas about art, architecture, and modern living transformed the Hamptons and ultimately made it the destination of choice for those seeking respite from the battles of Wall Street and Madison Avenue. In Weekend Utopia Alastair Gordon traces this fascinating and complicated trajectory, both in architectural terms-looking at modest beach houses and modern mansions alike-and in the life stories of the world-famous artists and designers, whose influence is felt on "The Island" even today. Over 175 photographs and illustrations detail the architecture, interiors, and nuances of these beautiful weekend homes, and provide an intimate portrait of the people who inhabit them. This engrossing book combines architectural history with a broad social perspective and paints a comprehensive picture of an area that in many ways shaped modern American culture.
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Editorial Reviews

New Yorker
Before the era of overpopulated time-shares, minivans, and Lizzie Grubman, Long Island's East End was famed as the "premier retreat for America's artistic and literary luminaries." So write Helen A. Harrison and Constance Ayers Denne in Hamptons Bohemia, a colorful ode to the Hamptons' often overlooked cultural legacy. Filled with photos of such residents and weekenders as Jackson Pollock, Kurt Vonnegut, and Truman Capote at work and at play, "Hamptons Bohemia" reveals a South Fork that first became a haven for artists in the nineteenth century, when James Fenimore Cooper and Winslow Homer were drawn to the remote beaches and austere potato fields. By the nineteen-forties, wide-eyed locals could be overheard asking, "Can you tell us where we'll find the Surrealists?"

As one East Ender, Edward Albee, points out, the Hamptons have since become "suburbs of New York City." Yet some evidence of artistic exile remains. In Studios by the Sea, the former Interview editor Bob Colacello and the photographer Jonathan Becker document the current crop of beachside artists, including Julian Schnabel, who has set up shop in an 1882 Stanford White mansion. Architects have also gravitated to the East End. Weekend Utopia, by the lifelong Hamptonian Alastair Gordon, explores the idea that the "beach house was the sonnet form of American architecture." It was in the Hamptons that White, Philip Johnson, and Robert Venturi worked out their ideas, and where now, as Gordon ruefully notes, ersatz manor houses twice the size of the White House gobble up the landscape. As Capote warned back in the seventies, "Some of the potato fields, so beautiful, flat and still, may not be here next year." (Mark Rozzo)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568982724
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 172
  • Sales rank: 1,137,481
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 12.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2001

    Very well done!

    This outstanding book beautifully features the work of such architects as Peter Blake, Charles Gwathmey and Andrew Geller. I have never seen such a fine presentation. Mr. Gordon is to be commended for compiling such an informative and attractive piece of work.

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    Posted December 22, 2008

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    Posted August 21, 2009

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