November 03, 2009, 7:00 PM
Participants: Michel Auder, Andrew Neel, Matthew von Unwerth
Alice Neel (1900-1984) was one of the great portrait painters of the 20th century. She reinvented the genre of portraiture by expressing the inner landscape of her varied sitters, among them Andy Warhol, Annie Sprinkle, Bella Abzug, and Allen Ginsberg. Painting a diverse cross-section of humanity, from Communist Party leaders to art world personalities to her neighbors in Spanish Harlem, Neel created a body of work that serves as a social document of New York and America in the 20th century.
Alice Neel is a feature-length documentary that tells the story of Neel's life and art, exploring the struggles she faced as a woman artist, single mother, and painter who defied convention. This film explores the entirety of Neel's life, making use of the extensive textual, photographic, and filmic archives granted exclusively to SeeThink Productions by Neel Arts and Alice Neel Images. SeeThink has also gained exclusive access to noted video artist Michel Auder's footage of Neel in her seventies and eighties.
Following the screening, Philoctetes film coordinator Matthew von Unwerth will lead a discussion with the film's director, Andrew Neel, and contributing video archivist, Michel Auder. This screening is made possible by permission of SeeThink Films.
Michel Auder is a video artist who has been making videos for over 40 years. Largely shown in galleries. his immense oeuvre—memoirs, travelogues, portraits, ingenious television montages—hasn't been easy to see. His unique documentation of artists at work has made his output an invaluable archival resource. Auder, now 65, kept his camera running throughout his adventures in the Parisian bohemia of the 1960s, and for much of the following decades, amassing a vast archive of his life and times: 5,000 hours—worth, by his own estimate. The result of this cinemaphilia is his critically acclaimed film self-portrait, The Feature.
Andrew Neel is the grandson of Alice Neel, and the son of Hartley Neel. He is in a unique position to present a filmic portrait of the Neel family and to explore difficult questions about the artist's life. As a child, he frequently traveled from his parents' house in rural Vermont to visit Alice in her studio on 107th Street in Manhattan. On her visits to Vermont, Alice would paint in a small studio down the road from his house, and she painted him twice during his childhood, the second time just a few months before her death in 1984.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.
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