IN THE MID-1950s, THE POPULAR RISE OF ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM DEFINED NEW YORK CITY AS THE CENTER OF THE WESTERN ART WORLD. THE MOVEMENT’S SPIRITUALLY DRIVEN SPONTANEITY AND REJECTION OF CONSERVATISM AND CLICHES SUPPLIED A DESPERATELY DESIRED ANTIDOTE TO THE LEAVE-IT-TO-BEAVER NORMS AND JOSEPH MCCARTHY WITCH-HUNTS THAT HAD INJECTED AMERICAN SOCIETY WITH A PUNGENT COCKTAIL OF ALIENATION AND PARANOIA. THE COUNTRY IS CURRENTLY SIPPING A SIMILARLY DISTASTEFUL BREW. STRONG ON DIVISIVE POLITICS AND MISPLACED NOSTALGIA, IT IS LIKEWISE STIRRING INSUBORDINATE TENDENCIES IN TODAY’S YOUNG ARTISTS, WHO LONG TO EVOLVE BEYOND TANGIBLE, OFTEN TRAGIC, REALITIES TO RESHAPE THE FUTURE.
In a literal sense, the movement’s inventive execution and impulsive aesthetic can be seen in Chinatown-based artist Alice Lancaster’s experimental works, which have captured the attention of the fashion and art worlds. The playful lines of Paul Klee, Henri Matisse’s minimal, sensuous curves and Pablo Picasso’s shattered-looking-glass depictions flirt with Egon Schiele’s twisted figures, Alice Neel’s intimate portraits and the urban urgency of the movement’s future students: Neo-Expressionists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. Agnes Martins’ pulsating pastels, feminine and unflinching, also appear. But the mix is alchemic, rather than derivative. Alice routes her rebellion into mischievous and vibrant explorations of the female body, mind and sexuality that are provocative, fiercely original and very much of the present — an apt descriptor for the artist herself.
WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?
The freedom. I don't have anyone telling me what to do. It's something I've wanted my whole life.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?
A SUMMER AFTERNOON SONG
A SONG FROM THE FIRST ALBUM YOU OWNED
YOUR FAVORITE BODY PART
WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST PROBLEMATIC ABOUT THE ART WORLD?
It's very exclusive. If you're not part of a certain group, you don't get to show at certain places. You have to schmooze and bullshit with people and that's just not a skill I have.
WHAT IS THE BEST RISK YOU'VE EVER TAKEN?
Moving to New York City.
A SCENE THAT MAKES YOU CRY
A PERFECT STYLE MOMENT
A PERSON YOU LOVE
THE LAST THING THAT MADE YOU LAUGH ONLINE
A SONG YOU'RE EMBARASSED TO LOVE
A SONG YOU HAVE DANCED TO AT HOME
THE FIRST GOOD THING YOU EVER PAINTED
I think the first thing I painted was this, when I was about six.
A SONG THAT PLAYS IN YOUR STUDIO
A SEX SCENE
YOUR FAVORITE FEMALE PAINTER
AN IMAGE THAT'S UP IN YOUR STUDIO
YOUR FAVORITE FEMALE CHARACTER
WHO HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR GREATEST INSPIRATIONS IN ART? IN LIFE?
Diane Arbus, Niki de Saint Phalle, Helen Frankenthaler, Karel Appel, Chuck Close, David Hockney
WHAT'S YOUR GO-TO DRINK TO FORGET?