John Perreault1972 by Alice Neel

It was Alice Neel’s goal to strip away barriers that distort our perception of her subjects… quite literally in the case of John Perreault.

I am left to assume that Mr. Perreault is a self-assured man who has been known to rock a speedo from time to time. Gotta love those tan lines! When he wasn’t sunning, John Perreault was a poet, art critic and curator. In the early 1970s, Perreault was curating an exhibition about the male nude. He approached Neel to ask her if he could use her painting of Joe Gould for the show, as it had never been exhibited due to its risqué and controversial content. (I guess most individuals aren’t okay with paintings of people who have penises growing out of their belly button.) Neel retorted that she would prefer to paint a nude of Perreault himself and being the spunky lad he was, he happily agreed.

Neel said she wanted to paint Perreault for a long time, because he reminded...

Jennifer Tucker
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Tags: male nude