She was born Corinne Michael West in 1908, an Abstract Expressionist painter whose work had great energy, colour and the same styles that made her contemporaries famous. She was not extremely well-known during her lifetime, in fact she had to use a man’s name to achieve respect in her field.
‘Once upon a time it was rare to find any Asians in prestigious art schools,’ said Bernice Bing one of the nation’s earliest Asian American artists to break into the elite world of modern art.
In 1952, the abstract painter was 23 years old when she painted Mountains and the Sea using a technique of her own invention that would pave the way for a new movement in art.
She was celebrated as a painter of instinct, which she obviously was, but she was also very calculating in what she did. The stress on the instinctive, while it was there, is also a gendered reading of her work—the idea that women are instinctive and men are intelligent. Helen Frankenthaler was both.
She was born Marielle Warin. Her Jewish family escaped occupied France for England where she studied drawing, became a model in the ‘Swinging London’ of the 1960’s and then found a home on the other side of the lens.
One of the completely forgotten names—but a name well-known among the literati of the 1920’s--is that of The Baroness.
The Mama of Dada was a public event.
She painted her shaved head red. The streets of New York were her theatre and the name of her act was Dada. She wore a tomato-can bra, a bustle with a tailight and a bird cage around her neck with live canaries inside.