Nude or Clothed, Alice Neel’s Unsentimental Portraits Command Attention

Left: Alice Neel, (American, 1900–1984), Jackie Curtis and Ritta Redd, 1970. Oil on canvas. 
60 × 41 7/8 in. (152.4 × 106.4 cm)
 Framed: 60 3/4 × 42 7/8 in. (154.3 × 108.9 cm) 
(The Cleveland Museum of Art, Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund) Right: Alice Neel, (American, 1900–1984), Linda Nochlin and Daisy, 1973. Oil on canvas.
 55 7/8 × 44 in. (141.9 × 111.8 cm) 
(Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Seth K. Sweetser Fund)
The show is too big, the catalogue and labels are too woke, but it’s great to see museumgoers viewing art in the flesh, again.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T here are three problems with Alice Neel: People Come First, which opened last month at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and runs there until August 1. First, it’s a retrospective, and Alice Neel (1900–1984) doesn’t need another career-long survey show. This is the third one I’ve seen since 2000, and there were three I missed, one in Houston, one in Stockholm, and another in London, each within the last 15 years. All of these shows have catalogues with essays.

At least a dozen smaller exhibitions over the last 20 years have considered aspects of her career, among them Hilton Als’s show,


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