Joan Mitchell

You’re talking about rejection. Don’t be worried about rejection. I say that now. It’s terrible, I asked one of my dealers years ago “If I don’t sell are you going to dump me?” And he said, “Sure.” But sales don’t make a show.

This post is different. Too much of what she said in her interviews were too perfect to be paraphrased. So here are 5 facts, and 5 quotes that I love:

  1. Born in Chicago, died in France
  2. Influenced by VanGogh, especially his sunflowers
  3. one of few women of TheClub–New York exclusive group of painters including: Kline, Pollock, Kooning, and Rothko
  4. part of the birth of Abstract expressionism
  5. painting sold for a world record $11.9 million (greatest value any woman has sold)

C’mon, how do you work wet into wet for 12 hours and keep a fresh look. You don’t. You can’t. What do you get, that weathered look? (BM)

you’ll be petting [the stray cat] and all of a sudden it has a fit and starts clawing you. It’s not that it thinks you’re going to attack it or anything. It’s that it doesn’t know how to sort of bask in a kind of love or relaxation. And I think there was a longtime … (BM)

Feeling, existing, living, I think it’s all the same, except for quality. Existing is survival; it does not mean necessarily feeling. You can say good morning, good evening. Feeling is something more: it’s feeling your existence. It’s not just survival. Painting is a means of feeling “living.” YM

[A painting is finished] When it stops questioning me. Sometimes I don’t know what to do with it. Sometimes I don’t know exactly what I want. I check it out, recheck it for clays or weeks. Sometimes there is more to do on it. Sometimes I am afraid of ruining what I have. Sometimes I am lazy, I don’t finish it or I don’t push it far enough. Sometimes I think it’s a painting.


What it means? It seems very clear what it means. I can’t say it but the painting makes it clear. If I don’t know, then it’s not working. If it seems right to me, then it has a meaning, but I can’t tell you what meaning. I can’t be more specific than that. it works when it means something, when I don’t question it any more. YM

YM: Interview with Yves Michaud (1986)  (Must read!)
BM: Interview by Cora Cohen & Betsy Sussler (1985-6) Bomb Magazine (longer)


When I finally got home, I had to hug myself a little bit and say, “You know what, Tiffany? I don’t care if you did make mistakes. I’m so proud of you.” I never, ever thought I would be able to do something awesome like that.

  1. Eritrean & African-American
  2. Step-father cut the breaks to their vehicle as a child, causing her mother irreparable brain damage and related schizophrenia
  3. Became the primary care-cover for her four siblings until they were separated in orphanages
  4.  Divorced the same man twice: “I was not going to allow my dreams to shut down. I was not going to allow no man to shut down this dream 
  5. Ticket to fame: Girls Trip
  6. Wrote: The Last Black Unicorn
  7. Appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
  8. Groupon spokesperson during a Super Bowl ad
  9. Says Halle Barre is her auntie at clubs to get in free
  10. Wil star in 2018 Night School with Kevin Hart

“It’s supposed to be now; it’s supposed to be now; it’s supposed to be now.”

Haddish in her 18 minute speech at the NY Film Critics Circle award show.

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