Tag Archives: Morgan Falconer


Art cuts across time… We can’t live without art. Human beings need art to help them deal with their mortality. — Audrey Flack, in Queen of Hearts

By layering a sumptuous helping of photorealism—drawing, masking, airbrushing—upon an armature of abstract expressionism, Flack worked against the grain of 1970s Conceptualism, giving free rein to maximalist tendencies that were there from the start. “While I was at Yale I was copying the Old Masters secretly… The drive to do realism was always with me.” While studying art at the university she encountered the legendary Bauhaus and Black Mountain College professor Josef Albers—who was also, according to Flack and other women, a serial sexual predator. Flack’s encounter with him “was almost like a masher on the subway when you’re not sure what they’re doing because they’re looking straight ahead.” Nor was Albers’ pedagogy appreciated: “[He] screwed up a couple friends of mine. They were terrific painters and they became ‘square painters.’ ”

Flack took her photography-based practice as far as she could. But the lack of critical respect—her work has been called “painting in ‘drag’,” and that was in a favorable review—and a two-year depression took their toll, and she stopped painting and became a sculptor for thirty years. “I wanted to do public art… My main mission was to put statues of women out there… strong women who women could look up to, who men could look up to.” Among her many commissions, Flack participated in a misbegotten attempt to memorialize the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza (wife of King Charles II) in the early 1990s. The 35-foot statue was to rise on the Queens side of the East River, facing the United Nations. Given the public protest at the time—Portugal’s slave-trade profiteering was cited—the commission was canceled.

In the terrific new documentary QUEEN OF HEARTS—AUDREY FLACK, directed by Deborah Shaffer and co-directed and edited by Rachel Reichman, Flack takes center stage in her studio, creating new work, philosophically holding forth, and shedding much-needed light on an overlooked chapter in the long history of twentieth-century American art.*

QUEEN OF HEARTS—AUDREY FLACK is streaming now. See link below for details.


Directed by Deborah Shaffer; co-directed and edited by Rachel Reichman

Film Movement

Now streaming.

*During the heyday of the movement, Flack was the only female photorealist and received zero mentions—to list five random, respected art histories—in Connie Butler and Alexandra Schwartz’s Modern Women: Women Artists at the Museum of Modern Art, Barbara Rose’s American Art Since 1900: Revised and Expanded Edition, Germano Celant’s The American Tornado: Art in Power 1949–2008, Art of the 20th Century (Taschen), and Morgan Falconer’s Painting Beyond Pollock—the latter of which includes a section on photorealism.

Deborah Shaffer and Rachel Reichman, Queen of Hearts: Audrey Flack (2019), from top: Audrey Flack, courtesy of Schaffer; Audrey Flack, Wheel of Fortune (Vanitas), 1977–78; Queen of Hearts poster courtesy and © Bacchus Films and Film Movement; Audrey Flack, Marilyn, 1977; Flack, courtesy of the artist. Artwork images © Audrey Flack, courtesy of the artist.


Inspired by the youth of a colossus of contemporary art, NEVER LOOK AWAY is Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s fictional take on the early life of Gerhard Richter—who grew up under the Nazis (and in the GDR after the war), studied and practiced Socialist Realism at Dresden’s Art Academy, and escaped to the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf just before the Wall went up.

The film stars Tom Schilling, Paula BeerSebastian Koch—who was in Henckel von Donnersmarck’s remarkable debut feature The Lives of Others—and Oliver Masucci plays a character based on Joseph Beuys.

AFI Fest 2018 presents the Los Angeles premiere of NEVER LOOK AWAY this weekend at the Egyptian, with an encore screening on Wednesday at the Chinese. The director will be present on Sunday in Hollywood, as well as at LACMA for a January, 2019 screening.


Sunday, November 11, at 7:30 pm.

Egyptian Theatre

6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Wednesday, November 14, at 2:45 pm.

Chinese Theatre

6925 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.

Friday, January 18, at 7:30 pm.

Bing Theater, LACMA

5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.

See Dana Goodyear on the Richter-Donnersmarck dynamic, and Morgan Falconer, “Photo-Painting,” in Painting After Pollock (London: Phaidon, 2015), 232–247.

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Never Look Away, from top: Tom Schilling (2); Shilling and Paula Beer. Images courtesy and © the filmmaker, the actors, and Sony Pictures Classics.