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Alice Neel
Feels Like Home

23 June—7 January 2024
Orange County Museum of Art, Costa Mesa, CA, USA

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Feels Like Home examines the role of kinship, chosen family, and the importance of community within the work of Alice Neel (b. 1900, Gladwyne, PA; d. 1984, New York, NY), one of the foremost American figurative painters of the twentieth century. A curated selection of forty paintings, many pulled from the estate’s collection, focuses on Neel’s honest, intimate paintings of her home, children, animals, and expanded family.

Everyday occurrences—from two nuns walking arm in arm in the park to folks gathered in a movie theater lobby—also demonstrate a close bond with New York, which provided Neel with a sense of belonging, enabling the artist to create her own definition of family. Images of the city are combined with paintings of parents and siblings, embraces between children and their beloved pets, and detailed insights into the artists and poets in Neel’s circle—revealing the extraordinary breadth of an artist for whom there was no separation between art and life. Brought together for the first time in OCMA’s exhibition, the works in Feels Like Home allow us to see the world from Neel’s unique point of view, reminding us that there is a multitude of ways to make and build a home.