- Art, Birthday, Nonfiction

Alice Neel on Art, Freedom, Chekhov, and More

Happy birthday, Alice Neel! Here are some quotes from and paintings by this extraordinary artist:

“Art is two things: a search for a road and a search for freedom. it’s very hard to get freedom. you know all these things in life keep crawling over you all the time, so it’s very hard to feel free.”

warhol.jpg
Andy Warhol, 1970

“You know it’s very hard to maintain a theory in the face of life that comes crashing about you.”

alice-neel-mother-child
Mother and Child (Nancy and Olivia), 1967

“You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is, because this is all part of experience, and the more experience you have, the better it is…unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far.”

two-puerto-rican-boys-1956
Two Puerto Rican Boys, 1956

“Nobody knows what makes good art. As an artist, when it happens, you’re grateful, and then you get on with it.”

linda-nochlin-and-daisy-1973.jpg
Linda Nochlin and Daisy, 1973

“I thought you had to give up a lot for art, and you did. It required complete concentration. It also required that whatever money you had had to be put into art materials.”

Hartley-1965
Hartley, 1965

“The place where I had freedom most was when I painted. I was completely and utterly myself.”

self-portrait-1980
Self Portrait, 1980

“Like Chekhov, I am a collector of souls…if I hadn’t been an artist, I could have been a psychiatrist.”

selvage
Nancy Selvage, 1967

 

“Whether I’m painting or not, I have this overweening interest in humanity. Even if I’m not working, I’m still analyzing people.”

soyer-brothers-1973
The Soyer Brothers, 1973

“When I was in my studio I didn’t give a damn what sex I was…I thought art is art.”

last-sickness-1953
Last Sickness, 1953

 

About John Madera

John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.
Read All Posts By John Madera

Leave a Reply