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Posted inArt

How to Be a Lady Painter

I think it’s funny that Patricia Albers’s recent and authoritative biography on Joan Mitchell was given the subtitle “Lady Painter.” It’s my only guess that Mitchell’s lifestyle and her painting were so out of character for the time that the term becomes ironic. The artist was known for her camaraderie with Cedar Tavern macho dudes like de Kooning and Pollock, her hangout sessions with beatnik poets, her ability to party, and her tendency to drink and sleep around with bravado. At the time these activities and attitudes were thought to be reserved for men. Mitchell gradually carved out a space for her paintings to be given the same treatment.