Philadelphia, Moore College of Art & Design, Alice Neel, January - February 1971
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Alice Neel, February - March 1974, cat. no. 46
Saratoga Springs, Art Gallery New Art Center Skidmore College, Alice Neel Paintings, November - December 1978, cat. no. 8 (exhibition checklist)
Akron Art Institute, Alice Neel, December 1978 - January 1979
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Focus on the Figure: Twenty Years, April - June 1982
Akron, Akron Art Museum, The Human Presence, November 1986 - March 1987
Washington, D.C., National Museum of Women in the Arts, Alice Neel's Women, October 2005 - January 2006
Cleveland, The Cleveland Museum of Art, June - September 2009 (extended loan)
Born in 1900, Neel spent more than half a century painting expressionistic portraits of singular emotional acuity, but it was only in the 1960s and 1970s that she gained prominence. Neel's increasing exposure brought her into the world of Andy Warhol, whom she met in 1963 and painted in 1970, exposing Warhol's surgical scars and emotional guardedness. ``Neel's friendship with Warhol also provided her with the opportunity to record the surfacing of the gay underground at a key point of origin, Warhol's entourage. ...The 1970 paintings Jackie Curtis and Rita Red and David Bourdon and Gregory Battcock are her earliest portraits of `gay' couples. All were players in Warhol's films and participants in life at the Factory.'' (Pamela Allara, Pictures of People: Alice Neel's American Portrait Gallery, Hanover, c. 1988, pp. 184-185).
Jackie Curtis (born John Holder) was a transvestite whose most memorable role was in Warhol's 1968 film, Flesh. In this double portrait, Neel perfectly plays on the interchangeability of gender roles. One might assume that Rita Red was the `female' sitter with flaming hair and dress, while Jackie must surely be the boy in jeans and t-shirt. In fact, Rita is the blonde and Jackie is the redhead. Yet, Jackie's more angular posture and aggressive mien reads masculine in contrast with Rita's regressive pose and mild visage. ``Thus `Rita Red' bearing only the nickname bestowed by Jackie, plays a female while retaining his male dress; Jackie, on the other hand, adopts female dress but retains his male position.... Traditional categories are effectively frustrated.'' (Ibid., p.187)
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