" T h e   c h a n g e   h a s   c o m e . "     

Objects. 10/2 - 10/5/14. Rooms.  10/9 - 10/12/14. Food. 10/16 - 10/19/14. Buy Tickets.


Gertrude Stein was an American writer and art collector, who spent most of her life living in Paris.  

There is much to say about Gertrude Stein, whose most well-known works were perhaps the very accessible Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas and the epic Making of Americans (revered but so long most will admit to not having gotten through the whole of it).  She was also famous for her salons, held at her home at 27, Rue de Fleurus -- where the cultural shapers of the world gathered...from Hemingway to Picasso.

Before writing Tender Buttons, Stein was doing a lot of portraits.  They were, of course, portraits painted with words.  Here's a clip of Stein reading "If I Told Him - A Completed Portrait of Picasso."

Tender Buttons

Publisher Donald Evans asked Gertrude Stein for a play to publish.  Instead of sending him a play, she sent him Tender Buttons, a curious work of indescribable genre, consisting of three sections: Objects, Food and Rooms.

When it first came out, the response was...deafening silence.  No one knew quite what to make of it.  It was unlike anything anyone had ever read before.

Over the next century, Tender Buttons would grow to have a massive influence on our cultural, our literature, even -- we would argue -- our song lyrics.

Worth looking at:
The complete text of Tender Buttons
Essay by Gary Heidt:  Two derriere-garde approaches to Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons

Hear Tender Buttons

One day in October 2012, Van Reipen Collective gathered together and read the whole thing out loud.  Here are the recordings:


Van Reipen Collective members share some of their favorite parts from Tender Buttons.


Pablo Picasso's portrait of Gertrude Stein