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Alice Neel: A Human Comedy

Curatorial tour with Eleanor Nairne

painting by Alice Neel: Cindy Nemser and Chuck, 1975, Oil on canvas.

Neel explained in her artist statement of 1960: ‘I decided to paint a human comedy.’ For this special evening, curator Eleanor Nairne speaks about a few of her favourite paintings from the exhibition.

Alice Neel could be fantastically funny and she learned how to put her sitters at ease by lulling them with stories from her rich life. Sharing more about how Neel met these sitters, Nairne will explore how they collaborated in her makeshift studio on the painting of them.

Eleanor Nairne has been a curator at the Barbican since 2015, curating exhibitions including Basquiat: Boom for Real (2017), Lee Krasner: Living Colour (2019), Jean Dubuffet: Brutal Beauty (2021) and Soheila Sokhanvari: Rebel Rebel (2022). She is currently working with Julianknxx on a new commission for the Barbican’s Curve which will open this September. She is also a writer for publications including The Art Newspaper, the London Review of Books and the New York Times.

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