Sunday, November 02, 2008

A marvelous, detail-rich book about a legendary place

The more-than-a-century-old artists' community in Saratoga, New York known as Yaddo gets a delectable treatment in a new book by sociologist Micki McGee. Yaddo: Making American Culture (Columbia University Press 2008) has a back-in-time feel that reminds me of one of my favorite books ever, The Red Rose Girls: An Uncommon Story of Art and Love by Alice A. Carter (Harry N. Abrams 2000). Both volumes gather photographs, documents, and interviews to weave stories and pictures in a manner that that makes the reader feel like a knowledgeable insider.

McGee is the curator of an exhibition by the same name at the New York Public Library, which jointly sponsored the book with Columbia UP. Interestingly, her bio says that among many honors, she has been a resident at another famous artists' retreat, the McDowell Colony. There isn't any mention of Yaddo, but maybe that's a given, or else in her future.

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