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Joan Mitchell: Portrait of an Abstract Painter [Import]


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Joan Mitchell: Portrait of an Abstract Painter [Import] + Gerhard Richter Painting
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Amazon.com: 20 reviews
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Orgainc and Fierce Dec 25 2010
By janjamm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Joan Mitchell's work is explicitly astonishing. This film is elegant, imaginative, graceful. Mitchell is a hard person to pin down and I think it is because, like her paintings, she just is. What she sees is spared her conscious manipulation, emerging uncensored. I like the idea that her paintings are like poetry, in the way a poem is not a statement but a summary of feelings that somehow cohere into a meaning which can only be felt, rather than spoken. There's just the moving feeling. Her work is organic and fierce and much to be admired. This film did such a good job of introducing me to Mitchell, even though Mitchell resisted the filmmakers. I don't think her resistance is intentional. I think that Mitchell is just a rare, visual creature for whom words are wholly inadequate. I watched it twice in a row.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Good film, difficult subject July 25 2011
By Draftsman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film portrays a painter who died in 1992 but whose reputation is still growing. As we get further from the Abstract Expressionist period and the macho myths that defined it, we are able to see more clearly the merits of some of the painters who were outside the canon. Joan Mitchell moved to France in the 1960's, and she continued to develop her art outside the New York hothouse. Some of her greatest work came towards the end of her life in the 1980's and 90's, and we see that here. Her best paintings, such as the Grande Vallee series, rank with the work of people like Kline, de Kooning, and Sam Francis.

She is not an easy interview, though. The film shows her evasiveness and unwillingness to be pinned down on art or her private life, which was tumultuous and fraught with drinking and disappointment. Yet somehow she was able to channel the pain and difficulty into creating very great art, and this video is a fine introduction.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Joan Mitchell deserves better April 17 2012
By Chauncey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This DVD has as its subject perhaps the greatest abstract expressionist of the second generation: Joan Mitchell. It's a pity that the makers did not have enough expertise to hire a cinematographer who knows how to photograph art, or an editor who understands that the viewer wants to look at the works at length. Most of the pictures not only are shown too briefly, but, unpardonably, are often not in sharp focus.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
One of the few DVDs about a woman artist who began her career in the 1950s Oct. 15 2012
By N. NATALE - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I thought this DVD did a good job on Joan Mitchell's bio and work overall. I think it could have been edited better to cut down on the time given to her young artist friends because their work was not very interesting, but maybe this is something Joan herself wanted to be included. Her long and influential relationship with Riopelle was not given much time, nor was her relationship with Barney Rosset. I'm not saying that she should be defined by these men, but it does seem that her life and work was deeply affected by them. She was also a pre-feminist woman who, while her work was certainly strong and independent, suffered because her self image was colored so much by her relationships with men and she did not like to think of herself as a feminist.

As to the coverage of her work, I would like to have seen more about how she influenced contemporary painters today - women and men. Also, more about her own place in contemporary art. I thought there needed to be more contextualizing of her work and I would like to have seen more of her work besides the Grande Vallee in a gallery setting so that the size and scope of her earlier work could be better appreciated. Just seeing the paintings themselves on the screen does not give a good idea of their size or how viewers would relate to them in person.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
OK Oct. 5 2013
By Arnold Levine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The film was interesting but the "Art Speak " by Brice Marden Ruined it for me. It was never really clear why he is in the film to begin with,as his work and ideas are about as distant from hers, as the Republican Tea party is from reality!

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