August 03, 2008

A day in Manhattan

I went into Manhattan yesterday. First to the Louise Bourgeois exhibit at the Guggenheim, then visited with some friends, Leah and Pedro, in the loft building where I used to live in Soho. I hesitated because of the rain but am so glad I did go. I have my old appreciation of the NYC cultural offerings back. Next visit I will plan more time there. I've had an aversion to Manhattan for a while, the crowds, commercialism and speed. You could fart anywhere in the City and no one would notice because it is always so busy, noisy and smelly. It was raining just before I left, when I was on the bus, in the museum but otherwise, bright and sunny, so I didn't get rained on after all.

The exhibit was fascinating. I loved seeing Bourgeois’ work, how it evolved over the years and how she thought about it. I'd not seen too much of it before and I am inspired to learn more about her. The work is mainly about body, gender, desire and sexuality. Most of it is very sensuous. She is constantly playing with different materials and how they can be used counter to their nature. (Making soft, breast-like forms from marble, people-like forms from wooden sticks). Each piece has so many layers of meaning and possibilities.

Her inspiration throughout her life was her childhood, her family, especially her father. From my brief visit with her, it felt like there were no (visual) thoughts about her husband and three sons, other than in a performance piece she held a rose, implying to her son (who was there) "I never promised you a rose garden." She was, she has said, protecting their privacy. I can imagine she would have been a strong mother figure, with her penetrating intelligence, wit and dedication to her work.

She's in her 90's now and still active, has a salon gathering at her house where young artists come to meet her. She challenges them: "do you know what you are doing in your work" and "do you know why you are doing what you are?" I have to try that one on for size! I know what I say to people, what I write for public consumption, but the real inner thoughts, the ones that really inform the work, to me, they are so visual they transcend words. Maybe I need to dig a little deeper to see what words I can put on the wordless.

Posted by leya at August 3, 2008 10:12 AM | TrackBack

I saw the LB show while it was at the Pompidou and I really enjoyed it as well. Like you, it was the first time I had seen that much of it! I think it made me understand her work better.

"Maybe I need to dig a little deeper to see what words I can put on the wordless."

...sounds exhausting...

Posted by: Kesha Bruce at August 4, 2008 05:50 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?