Cecily Brown on motherhood: “You’re forced to be more conventional”

Brown’s studio near Union Square, courtesy of the artist.

Cecily Brown, a painter who recently left the Gagosian stable and has a show at Maccarone this month, parents a six-year-old daughter with architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff. In a recent interview on Vulture with Julie Belcove , Brown talks about her experience of being a mother.

We lucked out; she’s a good kid. Fingers crossed we don’t screw her up.
She does give me a hard time for working. Of course, I feel incredibly
lucky that I have something that absorbs me so much. But my fears were
founded: It is really challenging to do both well, to feel that you’re
doing both well. There is a lot of conflict, and there is a lot of
guilt. It’s changed my work life utterly, beyond recognition. But I try
not to beat myself up because I feel so many women just spend their time
feeling they’re not doing well enough.

When I last saw you professionally, I was working all the hours. I
could start late; I could work late; I could work weekends. Suddenly,
you’re in the world in a way that you’re not when you’re an artist and
don’t have a family. You’re forced to be more conventional. School
starts at a certain time and finishes. You’e forced to go on vacation
when everyone else goes on vacation  you’re forced to go on vacation! I
mean, I was famous among my friends for never taking one. They would
tease me about it.

And yes, I do begrudgingly admit that I’m probably more focused as
everyone said I would be, but I miss being unfocused. I also know it’s
going to go quickly. In five years, I’l be lucky if she wants to hang
out with me.

Happy Mothers’ Day everyone. Try not to spend it in the studio!

Related posts:
Neo-Maternalism: Contemporary artists’ approach to motherhood
DISCUSSION: Owning motherhood
ON FILM: Blonde on blondes
Toughen up, lady


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One Comment

  1. LOL! I did spend part of it (Mother's Day) in the studio. The rest of the evening was spent with the family. I think I have given up on trying to "balance" everything. Now I am going for fully "integrating "all the things that are important to me in my daily life.

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