Portrait of the Artist as a Portraitist

The art world is a difficult place if you’re female — doubly so if you were painting portraits during the second half of the 20th Century, when abstract expressionism was in full swing and each decade’s aesthetic moved further and further away from the representational. So despite the fact that Alice Neel (1900-1984) ran with the Beat crowd and reinvented her genre by expressing the inner landscape of her subjects, she was often left out of the official canon, which tended to ignore female artists. Since her death, however, her reputation has improved considerably, a trend her grandson, Andrew Neel, helped advance with his 2007 Slamdance Award-winning documentary, Alice Neel.

Because it was made by a family member, the film demonstrates incredible access into Neel’s life via letters, photos, and video that no one else would have been able to obtain. The result is a film that’s as intimate as Neel’s incredibly honest paintings, and the perfect occasion for an intellectual Monday night at the Standard.
Mon., May 25, 8 p.m., 2009

 
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