Nicole Eisenman
American artist



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Nicole Eisenman
American artist
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Nicole Eisenman’s approach to art is something we don’t see often in our high-tech, low-connection world…it’s real. 

Eisenman is, as her paintings sometimes indicate, the daughter of a Freudian psychiatrist who was stationed in France during the war. She grew up in Scarsdale, New York, listening to her father interpret dreams and talk about the books he was reading. It was all great until she came out to him her freshman year at RISD. They went through “‘a few rough years,’” which Eisenman has incorporated into her work. She explains that, “[her] way of coping with fear is to tame it with humor,” so she takes the dark and scary parts of her life and creates humorous paintings or sculptures, or [insert medium here] with it. That’s another thing about Eisenman’s work. It’s uncategorizable. She has no one medium preference and refuses to be held down by the boxes that many artists are placed in for critical convenience. She resists boxes of any kind actually: genre boxes, gender boxes, style boxes, subject matter boxes. She’s just not a box girl. Get used to it.  

One consistency is that her work is pulled from her life. This alone isn’t groundbreaking but the way she does it is. She says of her process, “My emotional life and my work are so interconnected, but I have always felt embarrassed to talk about my art that way. It’s not cool. But what are you going to do? I’m stuck with it.” This means that the issues of the day that get her fired up weasel their way in there as well. 

Her work is personal, political, philosophical, and most of all, humorous. For instance, she has a painting of a pantless man wearing a shirt with an arrow pointing to his penis that says, “I’m with Stupid.” There is much to learn from and also laugh at in her paintings, which is probably why she earned a MacArthur genius grant in 2015. When she got the call she was buying bacon on Fire Island, and when she was asked what she was going to do with the $625,000, she made all of the judges feel really good about their decision and said she was going to buy “some gold chains and Gucci loafers.”

She was obviously kidding, not that it matters because she could buy Gucci loafers and gold chains, and still have enough money to continue changing the world, which, by the way, she has continued to do.



  1. "Nicole Eisenman | Artnet." N.p., 2018. Web. 28 Aug. 2018.
  2. Pogrebin, Robin. "Macarthur ‘Genius Grant’ Winners For 2015 Are Announced." N.p., 2015. Web. 28 Aug. 2018.
  3. Smith, Roberta. "Nicole Eisenman, Fluidly Merging Past, Present And Future." N.p., 2016. Web. 28 Aug. 2018.
  4. Solomon, Deborah. "A Conversation With Nicole Eisenman And Grace Dunham." N.p., 2016. Web. 28 Aug. 2018.
  5. Solway, Diane. "Nicole Eisenman Has Both Style And Substance." W Magazine. N.p., 2016. Web. 28 Aug. 2018.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman (born 1965) is an American artist primarily known for her paintings. Eisenman was a professor at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson from 2003 to 2009. She has been awarded the Guggenheim fellowship (1996), the Carnegie Prize (2013), and has thrice been included in the Whitney Biennial (1995, 2012, 2019). On September 29, 2015, she won the MacArthur "Genius Grant" award for "restoring the representation of the human form a cultural significance that had waned during the ascendancy of abstraction in the 20th century". Eisenman currently lives and works in Brooklyn.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Nicole Eisenman.