The New York School: The First Generation

1960s: Days of Rage

Left to right: Arthur Gold, Julia Gruen, Harold Clurman, Bobby Fizdale, John Ashbery, Jane Freilicher, Joe Hazan, and Jane Wilson, Water Mill, New York, 1962. Photograph by John Gruen.

The New York School really began, strangely enough, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at Harvard University where several of its most famous members were students along with other postwar poets Robert Bly, Robert Creeley, Donald Hall, Adrienne Rich, and Richard Wilbur. It was at Harvard that Kenneth Koch met John Ashbery and that John Ashbery published Frank O’Hara, later meeting him in the flesh at an opening of a show of Edward Gorey’s watercolors (Gorey was Ashbery’s roommate). All three eventually ended up in New York City, where they became involved with each other and with a number of painters, including Jane Freilicher, Nell Blaine, Larry Rivers, and Fairfield Porter. Everyone, it seems, wrote for Art News or worked at the…

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