What Did I Do? is the testimony of one of America's finest artists and includes memorable perceptions [and gossip] of friends, lovers, rivals, and the jazz and art worlds: Frank O'Hara, Terry Southern, Leo Castelli, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, John Ashbery, Clement Greenberg, Tibor de Nagy, Jackson Pollock, Delmore Schwartz, Rudy Burckhardt, Hans Hofmann, W. H. Auden, Miles Davis, Andy Warhol. Born Larry Grossberg in 1923 in the Bronx, NY, Rivers began his career in 1940 as a jazz saxophonist and composer, changed his name and became an American icon to artists everywhere. A great figurative painter, Rivers is also acclaimed as a precursor of pop art; an artist with an unashamed interest in sexuality and the private moment, he is also celebrated for bringing history back into contemporary painting. Candid, thoughtful, and funny, this book is among the finest of artists' memoirs. This edition includes 16 pages of color and 130 black-and-white illustrations. "What Did I Do? is the harrowingly true tale of a man whose early years were, by his own accounting, governed by often brutal instincts.
He responds crazily, rashly to jazz and sex and drugs, and finally to paint, becoming Larry Rivers, one of the most humane and interesting and idiosyncratic visual artists of our time. "Kurt Vonnegut