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Alice Neel
Self-portrait
1980
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.
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OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!
by Charlie Finch



The last 150 pages of Phoebe Hoban's Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty are as dull as it gets. As President Kennedy remarked after the Bay of Pigs, "Success has a thousand fathers. Failure is an orphan." From the time she painted Frank O'Hara in 1960 and was glowingly reviewed in Art News, Alice Neel was a success and her frequent reaction was not unlike Sally Field receiving the Oscar, "You like me you really like me!"

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