Bohemians come in all shapes and sizes, as you’ll soon find out in our new exhibition Bohemian Melbourne, which is now open in our Murdoch Gallery until  22 February; so put your skates on!

Dancing with empty pockets : Australia’s bohemians since 1860 by Tony Moore

Pier 9, 2012

Proving just how many shapes and sizes bohemians do indeed come in, Tony Moore’s fabulous book on Australia’s own unique species covers everyone from Marcus Clarke in the 19th century (a well known figure here at the Library) through to the likes of Melbourne’s own Barry Humphries and Mirka Mora, with plenty of stops along the way.

 

 Perils of the studio : inside the artistic affairs of bohemian Melbourne by Alex Taylor

Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2007

Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2007

The painter’s studio has long been viewed by society as perhaps the most mysterious and potentially subversive of artistic realms, and Melbourne in the first half of the 20th century played host to a network of these “hidden” spaces. Alex Taylor here investigates the rise of the studio on Melbourne’s artistic scene, the communities it created, the “business model” it represented, the image it projected to the rest of society and the role it played as Australian art moved away from 19th century pictorialism towards a more confrontational 20th century modernism.

 Bohemian Paris : Picasso, Modigliani, Matisse, and the birth of modern art by Dan Franck

Grove Press, 2001

Grove Press, 2001

 

Paris in the first decades of the 20th century was such a cauldron of social and cultural revolution it’s hard to understand how it didn’t just implode in a seething mass of conflicting artistic manifestos and bare knuckle philosophical stoushes! French author Dan Franck probably wishes he’d been there as he looks behind the high-art facade and recounts the brawls, friendships, confrontations and scandals of a cast of characters which reads like a who’s who of 20th century culture.

 Bohemians : a graphic history: edited by Paul Buhle and David Berger

Verso, 2014

Verso, 2014

What more fitting way to explore the bohemian history of America than through one of its greatest popular creations, the comic book, or “graphic novel” as it sometimes likes to be known. They’re all here, from Walt Whitman to Henry Miller and all points in between, vibrantly drawn by some of the top US comic book artists, both above and underground. Great fun!

 Hollywood Bohemians : transgressive sexuality and the selling of the movieland dream by Brett L. Abrams

McFarland, 2008

McFarland, 2008

The first decades of the Hollywood studio system must have been quite something as the burgeoning film industry desperately sought to sell its product to a nation with a voracious appetite for both entertainment and titillation. Long before the guardians of morality descended on the system mid-century the stories coming out of Hollywood, both onscreen and behind the scenes, were of a far racier nature than we generally associate with the studios; and they were all too willing to give the audience precisely what they wanted!

Beat & pieces : a complete story of the Beat generation: in the words of Fernanda Pivano ; with photographs by Allen Ginsberg

Photology, 2005

Photology, 2005

Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, the names and their legacies seem as fresh and startling today as they were in the heady days of the Beat Generation. They were the ultimate modern bohemians rising out of post World War Two America, questioning everything, trying everything, living for the moment, prefiguring the rise of the Hippie movement of the Sixties, casting a very long shadow over so much that was to follow.

And I couldn’t possibly leave without something just a little bit gorgeous from La Boheme….

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