January 02, 2022 – Reblog / Review : “Oral history interview with #JoanMitchell, 1965 May 21” via the #Smithsonian Archives of American Art

"Oral history interview with #JoanMitchell, 1965 May 21" via the #Smithsonian Archives of American Art https://www.aaa.si.edu/download_pdf_transcript/ajax?record_id=edanmdm-AAADCD_oh_361319
“Oral history interview with #JoanMitchell, 1965 May 21” via the #Smithsonian Archives of American Art


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No pictures in this reblog, or the article I’m re-blogging to!

Just words, but oh my goodness, what words – descriptive of, more than anything else, the person Joan Mitchell came across as, face to face, live, in person, in the mid-60s. I was but a teen then, but that time period still makes my eyes glow ☺️

This then, what I am reblogging about, is an oral – not written – interview, transcribed, between 2 ladies who it appears had known each other for quite awhile.

It’s relatively long, 19 typewritten dialog-style pages of nothing but interaction.

Superb. Like live theatre, but with less props lol! 😊

So here, with just two excerpts, I hope you’ll give this a quick look, and relatively quick read, though I often had to stop and think about what was being said, about the artist herself, and, what it meant to me today, cranking along, trying to understand myself with my own art….

Enjoy, excerpt from page 4 of 19 —

DOROTHY SECKLER: I was wondering how you had happened to arrive at the style, freestyle, earlier, had you known any of the artists who later became prominent among, you know, the Abstract Impressionists—had they been friends of yours in New York?

JOAN MITCHELL: When earlier do you mean?

DOROTHY SECKLER: Well, before you went to Paris. You said you had a freer period before France.

JOAN MITCHELL: No that I meant a long time ago in Chicago.


JOAN MITCHELL: Sort of young, sort of landscape-y, but realistic. So, no, I got to know, well, Kline I guess was the first known painter I knew around here which was around 1949. He hadn’t shown or anything, and I saw his big black things—the beginnings of them—hanging on his brick wall in his studio, unstretched. It was fantastic. What a divine mess, really. [Laughs]. And I found de Kooning. I’d seen a couple paintings of his here and there and I’d wanted to meet him. He had an underground reputation but not known on the big scene.

page 4 https://www.aaa.si.edu/download_pdf_transcript/ajax?record_id=edanmdm-AAADCD_oh_361319

It’s so incredible, Joan’s recollections when she and others like de Kooning & Kline were, well, just painters. Amazing interview, amazing transcript.

Here’s one more sample excerpt, from page 13 of 19 —


DOROTHY SECKLER: [Laughs.] Do you think of yourself as an action painter. Is the canvas an arena for action in the sense in which Harold Rosenberg is describing?

JOAN MITCHELL: Well, if it’s big it takes a lot of physical effort but I’ve never—I will go back and look at what I’ve done, each stroke, step back and study it. So it’s a lot of walking, [laughter] which is action.

DOROTHY SECKLER: I’ve assumed he’s always implied that this was kind of an emotional, this arena thing, it was like, you know, each stroke was an answering to a previous stroke set down and an emotion discharge about the same time.

JOAN MITCHELL: I think some of that is true. Um, yes. I think the term as it was used at the time was alright. I think it’s been misused or misunderstood, don’t you?

DOROTHY SECKLER: Yes, I’ve come to have a kind of sense that a big gesture was the whole thing.

JOAN MITCHELL: Yes, with nothing more.

DOROTHY SECKLER: And regaining these moments when you step back and you are exercising your conscious judgment—and actually I don’t think Harold himself was sometimes clear enough about the fact there’s an alternation between these two processes.

JOAN MITCHELL: Well I’m not sure he knows.

DOROTHY SECKLER: Maybe he just hasn’t really been close enough into the painter, he’s closer to ideology.

JOAN MITCHELL: Yes, I think you’d have to watch a painter work.

page 13, https://www.aaa.si.edu/download_pdf_transcript/ajax?record_id=edanmdm-AAADCD_oh_361319

There’s a level of self-reflection or recognition that seems to put a lot of truth into her words, Joan’s words. This is a keeper article, the Smithsonian’s, not mine, lol! There’s a reality I get each time I re-read it ☺️ It’s un-pretentious. It’s real. It’s live ❤️


My series of reblogs can be browsed at – https://felipeadanlerma.com/tag/reblog/


Thanks so much everyone! Stay curious about creativity, may we find how related we artists, of all types, really are! 😊


Blog post in above tweet 😊
February 23, 2021 – Texas Hill Country November – circa 2021 Watercolor – Adan’s PhotoPoems

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