Photo: Carol Huebner Dr. Steven Watson is a cultural historian who is particularly interested in the dynamics of the twentieth century American avant-garde. After studying English at Stanford University and psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he received his Ph.D. in 1976 and worked for nineteen years as the staff psychologist of a community mental health clinic.

He simultaneously began writing books about key circles of the twentieth century, and several such books have been published: Strange Bedfellows: The First American Avant-Garde (Abbeville, 1991), The Harlem Renaissance: Hub of African-American Culture 1920-1930 (Pantheon,1995), and The Birth of the Beat Generation: Visionaries, Rebels and Hipsters 1944-1960 (Pantheon, 1995); his two most recent books are Prepare for Saints: Gertrude Stein, Virgil Thomson and the Mainstreaming of American Modernism (Random House, 1999) and An Eye on the Modern Century: The Selected Letters of Henry McBride (co-editor, Yale University Press, 2001).

In addition to his books, Watson has organized two exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery (Group Portrait: The First American Avant-Garde, and Rebels: Painters and Poets of the 1950s), published a collaborative artistsí portfolio, Artifacts at the End of a Decade, and produced and directed Prepare for Saints, a documentary film about the opera, Four Saints in Three Acts, broadcast on Public Television. He is currently working on a documentary about the Warhol Silver Factory in the mid-1960s.

VIDEO
< click on image to play video

8 mm. film by Robert Watson


Education

1972 - 1976: Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara
Counseling Psychology

1966 - 1970: B.A. Stanford University
English

Publications / Books

Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties (Pantheon Books, 2003)

An Eye on the Modern Century: The Selected Letters of Henry McBride (co-edited with Catherine Morris, Yale University Press, 2001)

Prepare for Saints: Gertrude Stein, Virgil Thomson and the Mainstreaming of American Modernism (Random House, 1999)

The Harlem Renaissance: Hub of African American Culture 1920 - 1930 (part of author-conceived series, Circles of the Twentieth Century, Pantheon Books, 1995)

The Birth of the Beat Generation: Visionaries, Rebels and Hipsters, 1944-1960 (part of series, Circles of the Twentieth Century, Pantheon Books, 1995)

Strange Bedfellows: The First American Avant-Garde (Abbeville Press, 1991)

Making Mischief: Dada Invades New York (contributor, Whitney Museum of Art, 1996)

The Beat Goes On (Contributor, catalog for the Venice Film Festival, 1996)

Beat Culture and the New America (contributor, Whitney Museum of American Art, 1995)

A Jack Kerouac ROMnibus (contributor to a CD-ROM, Viking-Penguin, 1995)

Artifacts at the End of a Decade (limited edition collaborative artistsí book, conceived, produced, and published by Steven Watson in collaboration with Carol Huebner, 1981)

Journalism: Weekly arts features for Newsday (1985 - 1986), articles for The New York Times, Vogue, Art in America, The Village Voice, Art and Antiques and other periodicals (1979 - 2001)

Film

Prepare for Saints: The Making of a Modern Opera (directed, wrote, co-produced, Connecticut Public Television, executive producer, 1999)

Exhibitions

Rebels: Poets and Painters of the 1950s (curator, National Portrait Gallery, 1996)

Group Portrait: The First American Avant-Garde (curator, National Portrait Gallery, 1991)

Beat Culture and the New America (consultant curator, Whitney Museum of American Art, 1995)

Artifacts at the End of a Decade (over 50 exhibitions to date, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, New York State Museum, Franklin Furnace)

Lectures

Lincoln Center, New York
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
National Gallery, Washington, D.C.
Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Harvard University
Princeton University
United States Information Service lecture tour (ten cities in Germany)
Town Hall, New York
Parco, Tokyo
Columbia University
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford
Vassar College
Wesleyan College
University of Puerto Rico, San Juan
Boston University
San Francisco Art Institute
Arts Club of Chicago
Rutgers University
Lincoln School, Kathmandu
National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C.
University of Texas, Austin
Smithsonian Seminar coordinator, New York
Stanford University
Houston Grand Opera
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Pallazo degli Espozisioni, Rome
Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
De Young Museum, San Francisco

Honors and Awards

Phi Beta Kappa
Newberry Fellowship