Alice Neel: People Come First
Join us for a talk on the first comprehensive West Coast museum survey of the work of American artist Alice Neel (1900–1984). This retrospective, featuring paintings, drawings, watercolors, and film, marks Neel as one of the century’s most radical painters, a champion of social justice whose commitment to humanist principles inspired her life and art.
Neel spent most of her life living and working in New York City, and her work testifies to the diversity, resilience, and passion of the people she encountered there. The exhibition includes portraits of Neel’s neighbors in Spanish Harlem, political leaders, queer cultural figures, activists, mothers, and a diverse representation of nude figures, including visibly pregnant women. Together these works embody a candor and irreverence unprecedented in Western art and illuminate Neel’s uncompromising humanism, which still resonates today.
Our exploration will be led by docent Maureen O’Brien, who received both her B. A. in Art History and her Master’s Degree in the Humanities with an Emphasis in Art History from Dominican University of California in San Rafael, where she is now an Adjunct Professor, teaching courses in history, as well as Western and Non-Western Art History. She also lectures for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Francisco State University and Sonoma State University, and was an instructor at Sonoma State University and the College of Marin. She has been a docent with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco since 2006.