The Legend of Alice Neel 

The language of art is embodied in paint and line on canvas or paper, in stone or clay or plastic or metal — it is neither a sob-story nor a confidential whisper.  LINDA NOCHLIN  What makes an artist great? For the duration of the cultural drought that engulfed the plague year, as the rates of illness and death rose, there was hardly an opportunity to consider so decadent a question. Museumgoers were starved, subsisting largely on virtual exhibition tours and Instagram profiles dedicated to Old Master paintings. The ersatz screen-gallery is uniquely numbing. Zooming into and then scrolling through post after post of factureless paintings is like kissing through a sheet of glass. There is a semi-spiritual sensation which can grip a viewer who comes face to face with the actual product of a master’s hands. Standing in front of a genuine work of art, it is possible to enter

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