Steven Watson

Cultural historian and documentary filmmaker

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),
The Birth of the Beat Generation: Visionaries, Rebels and Hipsters 1944-1960 (Pantheon, 1995);

His most recent books are:

Prepare for Saints: The Making of a Modern Opera (watch the video)
Gertrude Stein, Virgil Thomson and the Mainstreaming of American Modernism (Random House, 1999)
An Eye on the Modern Century  The Selected Letters of Henry McBride (co-editor, Yale University Press, 2001),
Factory Made: Warhol and the Sixties (Pantheon, 2003).

In addition to his books, Watson has organized two exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery.
Group Portrait: The First American Avant-Garde
Rebels: Painters and Poets of the 1950s

He also published a collaborative artists 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 PBS.

Steven Watson is the founder of Childs Play International, using play, story-telling and drawing to combat traumatic environments.
We have worked in Pakistan, Kenya, Haiti, Peru, Sri Lanka and other countries.