Respected writer and critic Hilton Als curates paintings and drawings Alice Neel (1900-1984) made during the five decades she spent living in Upper Manhattan, first in Spanish Harlem and later the Upper West Side.
One of the foremost American figurative painters of the twentieth century, Neel is known for her portraits of family, friends, neighbors, and locals as well as writers, poets, and other cultural and political figures.
This exhibition highlights the innate diversity of Neel's approach. As Als notes, Neel "was attracted to a world of difference and painted that. Still, her work was not marred by ideological concerns; what fascinated her was the breadth of humanity that she encountered in her studio, on canvas…Alice Neel, Uptown, the first comprehensive look at Neel's portraits of people of color, is an attempt to honor not only what Neel saw, but the generosity behind her seeing."
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This building was likely located on East 108th Street and Lexington Avenue. Many of the buildings nearby have since been torn down and replaced. Neel lived in East (Spanish) Harlem from 1938 and 1962, first on East 107th Street, and then, on East 108th Street from 1942 to 1962, before being relocated by her landlord to West 107th Street, on the Upper West Side, just south of Harlem.
In the forthcoming publication, Als writes about specific works, introducing the sitters and offering insights into Neel, her work and process while adding his own perspective. Published by David Zwirner Books/Victoria Miro in London, where the show travels in May.
Hilton Als speaking about Alice Neel's work during a preview of the exhibition. Ron Kajiwara (1971) pictured behind.