Tonight I watched an Alice Neel documentary streaming, called Alice Neel and made by her grandson Andrew Neel. But anyway, afterward I was thinking about something: do you know what Alice Neel paintings are like? Alice Neel paintings are like when you’re becoming intimate with another person, you’re getting to know this person in a deep way and it’s happening quite rapidly or at least it feels faster than you’re capable of managing. And there’s this moment when you are struck by this person’s flaws because of how real they make her. You become acutely aware of this person’s potential to floor you with her beauty, to repulse you, to embarrass you, and maybe to make you devoted to her. An Alice Neel painting is like the moment someone shows this flash of herself. You learn in this second she is astonishing and monstrous, and you’re uncertain of where you stand.
this is quite lovely and true.
(below is pregnant julie and algis, 1967)