Spring Forward With Timely Books on Influential Artists Alice Neel, Yayoi Kusama

  • March 15, 2021 11:48

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Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty by Phoebe Hohan

For your book wish list this Women's History Month, these two publications share the stories of important women artists Alice Neel and Yayoi Kusama as major exhibitions feature their work in 2021.

Opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on March 22nd, Alice Neel: People Come First is the first New York City retrospective of Neel’s work in twenty years. The career-spanning exhibition will include approximately 100 paintings, drawings, and watercolors. Concurrent to the exhibition, readers can enjoy a primer on the artist in the groundbreaking biography, Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty by Phoebe Hohan (re-released March 30, 2021, by David Zwirner Books, with a new introduction)

Hoban’s biography of the renowned American painter Alice Neel tells the unforgettable story of an artist whose life spanned the twentieth century, from women’s suffrage through the Depression, McCarthyism, the civil rights movement, the sexual revolution, and second-wave feminism. Throughout her life and work, Neel constantly challenged convention, ultimately gaining an enduring place in the canon. Born into a proper Victorian family at the turn of the twentieth century, Neel reached voting age during suffrage. A quintessential bohemian, she was one of the first artists participating in the Easel Project of the Works Progress Administration, documenting the challenges of life during the Depression

With extended travel up in the air at the moment, don’t fret if you can’t make it to see Yayoi Kusama’s upcoming immersive installation at the New York Botanical Garden. Centered around EVERY DAY I PRAY FOR LOVE, Kusama’s acclaimed exhibition at David Zwirner, New York, in 2019, Yayoi Kusama: Everyday I Pray for Love is a must-have for fans of her famed Infinity Mirrored Rooms, sculptures and eye-catching paintings. (Re-released in Nov. 2021 by David Zwirner Books.)

In her most personal book to date, the artist brings us into her private world through poetic recollections, offering insight into her creative process and the essential role language plays in her paintings, sculptures, and daily life. With a new focus on Kusama’s use of language, this book features an impressive overview of her poetry, which the artist creates alongside her work in other media. Highlighting the importance the artist finds in words, the book draws special attention to the captivating poetic titles of her paintings, such as I WOULD LIKE TO SHOW YOU THE INFINITE SPLENDOR OF STARDUST IN THE UNIVERSE and FIGURE OF THE MIDNIGHT DARKNESS OF THE UNIVERSE THAT I DEDICATED ALL MY HEART. 

Yayoi Kusama: Everyday I Pray for Love 

Both books are available for pre-order from David Zwirner Books. Previous editions may be found on Amazon and through booksellers.


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