Thursday, July 7, 2011

Did Joan Mitchell Have the Finest Mind in Modern American Art?

When artist Joan Mitchell was born in 1925, her father wanted a boy. He let her know that her entire life, leading her to seek psychiatric help. As much as that experience shaped her mind, Joan’s mind already set her apart, and set her on the course to become an artist. As revealed in Patricia AlbersJoan Mitchell: Lady Painter, the first full-length biography of the artist, Mitchell had both synesthesia and an eidetic memory. In other words, Mitchell saw much of the world—letters, sounds, people, and even emotions—as colors, while at the same time remembering every detail of the past as vividly as the present. That unique combination and Mitchell’s drive to become an artist helped her rise within the male-dominated art world of the 1950s. Albers’ sensitive and insightful biography provides a whole new vision of Mitchell and her art and raises fascinating questions about what it meant to be an artist and a woman in 20th century America. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Did Joan Mitchell Have the Finest Mind in Modern American Art?"

[Image: Joan Mitchell. Blue Territory, 1972 (detail).]

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