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The Wednesday Five

1.

The New Yorker: The Inclusive Humanity of Alice Neel’s Paintings

Alice Neel was an American visual artist, who was particularly well known for oil painting and for her portraits depicting friends, family, lovers, poets, artists and strangers. Her paintings are notable for their expressionistic use of line and color, psychological acumen, and emotional intensity. On view at the David Zwirner Gallery in Manhattan is an exhibition of her work, “Alice Neel, Uptown,” which captures the people she met while living for five decades in Harlem and the Upper West Side.

Hilton Als, who curated the exhibition, wrote a beautiful meditation on the meaning of Neel’s work, writing in The New Yorker:

“Might one call Neel a kind of essayist of the canvas? When I first saw her work—this might have been in the late nineteen-seventies, when I was not yet twenty—I was immediately consumed by the stories she worked so hard to tell: about loneliness, togetherness, and the drama of self-presentation, spurred by the drama of being. Years passed, and I continued to look at Neel. What struck me about her vast oeuvre, after a while, was all the people of color she painted. This was unusual, and is still.”

Read the full essay here.

 

2.

The New York Times: The Love Letters of Manly Men

This week the auction of the love letters written by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to the British diplomat David Ormsby Gore made headlines — the price tag was an estimated $125,000 to $187,000. And Onassis’s letters aren’t the only ones. Kate Murphy writes in The New York Times:

“Increasingly rare in an age when affection is more often expressed with a kissy-face emoji, actual, hold-in-your-hands love letters are special even to people who weren’t the intended recipients. Indeed, collectors tend to value love letters written by famous figures more than other kinds of correspondence. . .Perhaps money can’t buy you love, but it can buy you the solace that no one, not even the most prominent figures in history, is immune to the humility and heartbreak of love. It blesses and afflicts us all.”

Read the full article here.

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