In Episode 23 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews one of the world's GREATEST writers and curators, Helen Molesworth on ALICE NEEL !!!
The most exceptional portrait painter to ever life, and in my opinion, the most pioneering artist there ever was, Alice Neel was a visionary. Born as early as 1900 and based in NYC for her entire adulthood, Neel's life corresponded with the 20th century, which saw her live through political events, as well as a multitude of art movements and styles.
Painting her portraits in her signature thick blue and black outlines; scrutinising her sitter in every way; capturing the essence of the encounter; and owning her subject, Neel remained continuously loyal to her painterly style throughout the course of her six-decade-plus career.
Capturing art world stars such as Andy Warhol, to her cleaner Carmen and landlord's son, Benjamin, Alice Neel painted the world and community she surrounded herself, first in Harlem, and then on the Upper West Side. Dubbed 'a collector of souls' she painted people how she saw them: frank, honest, expressive, and truthful.
And then there are her revolutionary paintings of the nude: from sexualised portrayals of men to protruding pregnant women. WOW. Was she groundbreaking.
It was completely amazing to interview the genius Helen Molesworth, who is SO insightful on the life and work of Alice Neel. One of the most fun episodes I have ever recorded, we deep dive into Neel discussing her take on men, her encounters, and what her art means for the history of art.
Helen Molesworth at David Zwirner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aULGfEQZPUA
Essay by Helen Molesworth: https://www.davidzwirner.com/exhibitions/freedom-0
Hilton Als curated show, Uptown, at Victoria Miro: https://www.victoria-miro.com/exhibitions/506/
Thank you for listening!!
This episode is sponsored by Alighieri https://alighieri.co.uk/
Enjoy 10% off using the code TGWA!
Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
Sound editing by Amber Miller (@amber_m.iller)
Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
Music by Ben Wetherfield