​By Hilton Als. Foreword by Jeremy Lewison

Known for her portraits of family, friends, writers, poets, artists, students, singers, salesmen, activists, and more, Alice Neel created forthright, intimate, and, at times, humorous paintings that quietly engaged with political and social issues. 

In Alice Neel, Uptown, writer and curator Hilton Als brings together a body of paintings and works on paper of African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, and other people of color for the first time. Highlighting the innate diversity of Neel’s approach, the selection looks at those whose portraits are often left out of the art-historical canon and how this extraordinary painter captured them; “what fascinated her was the breadth of humanity that she encountered,” Als writes.

The publication, which opens with a foreword by Jeremy Lewison, advisor to The Estate of Alice Neel, explores Neel’s interest in the diversity of uptown New York and the variety of people amongst whom she lived. This group of portraits includes well-known figures such as playwright, actress, and author Alice Childress; the sociologist Horace R. Cayton, Jr.; the community activist Mercedes Arroyo; and the widely published academic Harold Cruse; alongside more anonymous individuals of a nurse, a ballet dancer, a taxi driver, a businessman, and a local kid who ran errands for Neel.

In short and illuminating texts on specific works written in his characteristic narrative style, Als writes about the history of each sitter and offers insights into Neel and her work, while adding his own perspective. A contemporary and personal approach to the artist’s oeuvre, Als’s project is “an attempt to honor not only what Neel saw, but the generosity of her seeing.” 

This catalogue is published on the occasion of the 2017 exhibitions of Neel’s paintings and drawings at David Zwirner, New York, and Victoria Miro, London.


Hilton Als Goes “Uptown” with Artist Alice Neel

Crave Online, by Miss Rosen
May 15, 2017


Phoebe Hoban on Alice Neel at David Zwirner Gallery

Whithot Magazine, by Phoebe Hoban
May 2017


Alice Neel

Art in America, by Lindsay Pollock


Hilton Als, Alice Neel, and the Faces of New York

Interview Magazine, Interview with Hilton Als by Antwaun Sargent
March 16, 2017


Seeing Alice Neel through the Eyes of Hilton Als

Artsy, by Tess Thackara
February 27, 2017


Alice Neel’s Uptown Show Packs a Powerful Message

Arnet, by Christian Viveros-Fauné,
February 25, 2017


Alice Neel Painted the World She Lived In

Vogue, by Mark Guiducci
February 24, 2017


Alice Neel’s Love of Harlem and the Neighbors She Painted There

The New York Times, by Jason Farago
February 23, 2017


The Inclusive Humanity of Alice Neel’s Paintings

The New Yorker, by Hilton Als
February 4, 2017


Hilton Als on Alice Neel

The Brooklyn Rail, by Hilton Als
February 1, 2017


East Harlem Portraits

The Paris Review, Interview with Hilton Als by Lucas Zwirner
Issue 219, Winter 2016