Alice Neel – People Come First

Continuing to redress the imbalance between male and female artists, the Guggenheim Bilbao has chosen to mount the very first retrospective in Spain of American artist Alice Neel (1900–1984).

One of the century’s most radical painters, Neel was a champion of social justice whose humanist principles inspired her life as well as her art, as demonstrated in the 100 paintings, drawings, and watercolours that will appear in this survey.

Images of activists demonstrating against fascism and racism appear alongside paintings of impoverished victims of the Great Depression, as well as portraits of Neel’s neighbours in Spanish Harlem, leaders from a wide range of political organisations, queer artists and performers, and members of New York’s global diaspora. 

The exhibition also features Neel’s candid and erotic watercolours and pastels of mothers and nudes, highly unusual for a female artist in the 1930s. 

Neel returned again and again to the streets of New York for her subject matter and to the diversity, resilience, and passion of its residents. “For me, people come first,” Neel declared in 1950. “I have tried to assert the dignity and eternal importance of the human being.” 

From 17th September to 6th February 6, 2022 at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain

To view this issue’s full selection of art events click here.

Comments are closed.