Alice Neel: Hot Off the Griddle

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Alice Neel: Hot Off the Griddle

Alice Neel: Hot Off the Griddle

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Quotations and titles utilise an alternate set of narrow capital characters, creating a slight sense of unease and distorted proportions when blown up to larger sizes, especially within the exhibition space. One of her first solo exhibitions was organised by Mike Gold, founder of The New Masses , whilst she made a living lecturing at Communist-organised adult education schools; decades later, she became the first American artist to have a retrospective in the USSR. You see the good and bad, the highs and lows, the streets and the lecture theatres of New York all thrown together without barriers or boundaries.

The main gallery is a kind of all-together-now vision of a certain time and place: downtown Manhattan in the 1960s and 70s. The Marxist activist hooks one leg over the chair and raises an arm to expose the dark hair in her pit and yet it all goes awry; the seductive pose, the clothes and the anxious intelligence in her face are at odds. It wasn’t a very big income, but it gave me enough to live and paint on,” Neel told the American art historian Cindy Nemser for the book Art Talk: conversations with 12 women artists, published in 1975. Neel’s vibrant portraits are shown alongside archival material from the time, including photography, letters and film. Face versus body, the mind in spite of the physique, or perhaps the life itself: that seems a steady fascination.Here are her paintings of the Uneeda biscuit factory strikes in 1936, police bearing down on workers, innocent children picked out in blood red. Her youngest daughter had died of diphtheria and Enríques had taken their second, Isabetta, to live with his family in Havana.

In fact, Neel’s depiction of women, and rejection of the male gaze, made her something of a feminist icon. Neel painted right up to her death and was known to phone friends to exclaim: “Guess what, I’m alive! But it’s her move to New York in 1931 after a messy divorce and a nervous breakdown that gave the world the Alice Neel we know.An artist with such force of personality she could cajole Andy Warhol into sitting half-naked before her, even though he regarded nudity as “a threat to my existence”. One of her last painting was actually a nude of herself, of which she said, at 80: “All my life I wanted to do a nude self-portrait, but I put it off till now, when people would accuse me of insanity rather than vanity. This stark-naked, bulges and all painting was the first self-portrait by an artist who feels very much a figure for our times, Alice Neel. It is a type style with a strong sense of openness for legibility, but not without its own stylistic flair.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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