Elaine deKooning considered herself an “escape artist.” Not like Harry Houdini, but someone who liked “the idea of escaping from style.” Like Ruth Asawa, she didn’t care to be pinned down. She used many themes from psychology and anthropology in her painting work. While at BMC, however, she also dabbled in plays and other interactive collaborations. But perhaps her biggest impact while at BMC was a more hidden role.
Many know the name Buckminster Fuller and his famous geodeisic dome which was first constructed on the BMC campus. If you look at pictures documenting the building process, it is often Elaine de Kooning at the center, making it all happen, directing the students in the making process while Fuller looks on!
Even during divorce/ separations from her artist husband, she continued to go to great lengths to support and encourage his art. Elaine was always deep in the thick of things, making creative ideas (whether her own – or others’) come to life.
Links for Further Exploration
- Black Mountain College Artist Profile
- A Generous Vision: The Creative Life of Elaine de Kooning
- VIDEO: Portrait in a Minute – Elaine de Kooning
- National Museum of Women in the Arts: Elaine de Kooning
Invitation to Creativity
Though Elaine de Kooning achieved many things during her long creative life, one of her greatest gifts was less visible and celebrated: the ability to support, encourage, and advocate for other artists.
Feeling confident about our creativity is challenging and it’s really helpful to have people who celebrate and encourage us―and for us to be supporters of creativity in others.
This week’s invitation is two-fold:
- think of people in your life who have or are presently encouraging of your creative self
- think of people you’d like to encourage in their creativity
Create some colorful postcards of thanks and/or creativity encouragement and send to these folks. Spread the Creative Love!