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Mary Dearborn and Karole P.B. Vail

Charles Ruas's guests on this program, dedicated to the life and work of Peggy Guggenheim, are biographer Mary Dearborn, author of Mistress of Modernism: The Life of Peggy Guggenheim and Karole P.B. Vail, Guggenheim's granddaughter and currently a curator at the Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York.

As Dearborn (also the author of biographies of Norman Mailer, Louise Bryant and Henry Miller) and Vail describe her, Guggenheim was a complex personality who discovered her vocation in art at the same time she liberated herself from the sexual conventions of her day. With the Art of This Century gallery, her first, she made the transition from Surrealism to Abstract Expressionism during the Second World War by bringing together the European artists in exile in the U.S. with American artists living in New York. After the war, she brought American art to Venice, Italy in the form of the collection that eventually became the museum in her onetime palazzo. Dearborn has also written Mailer: a Biography, Queen of Bohemia: The Life of Louise Bryant, and The Happiest Man Alive: A Biography of Henry Miller.

Vail wrote the exhibition catalog for Peggy Guggenheim: A Centennial Celebration, at the Guggenheim Museum in 1998.


Conversations with Writers


Host Charles Ruas in conversation with contemporary writers and poets, continuing a stream of intelligent discussion dating back to his legendary days at WBAI Pacifica Radio in New York in the seventies. Ruas is the author of Conversations with American Writers, a Fulbright scholar, and a distinguished French translator. His writing has frequently appeared in both ARTNews and Art in America. His other Clocktower-produced program is Historic Audio From the Archives of Charles Ruas and is one of the most brilliant and extensive collections of historic audio in our archive.