because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Joan Mitchell

Abstract Expressionist painter Joan Mitchell's father once told her "You can’t do anything as well as I because you are a woman." Mitchell didn't appreciate that. And she didn't appreciate having herself and her work pushed to the side throughout her career so that real (male) artists and their work could be more properly considered and respected. So she -- like many in-your-face women -- "acted out."

Depressed and alcoholic, she was known for her foul mouth, violent outbursts and general rudeness, not to mention her sexual escapades, none of which would have been given a second thought, of course, if she'd been a wildly talented artist -- and a man. But since she was female, her in-your-faced-ness was used as an excuse to further alienate her from the center of the art world where she probably belonged.

Poet John Asbury said Mitchell's work has "an energy that seem[s] to have other things in mind than the desire to please." And only days before her death from lung cancer, Mitchell could be seen drinking Chablis in the hospital corridor, surrounded by adoring young artists. A queen -- in-your-face -- to the end.

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