13 June 2010

Passings ~ Louise Bourgeois (1911~2010)

“The subject of pain is the business I am in . . . To give meaning and shape to frustration and suffering. . . . The existence of pain cannot be denied. I propose no remedies or excuses.” ~ Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois, 1982.
Photograph © The Estate of Robert Mapplethorpe.

Among the events I have managed to neglect of late was the death of artist Louise Bourgeois. In part that was because I have been very busy and in part it is because I am woefully out of touch with the history of art. But when I noticed my old friend Susan Bogle Finnegan, herself a talented and accomplished artist, calling her "extraordinary," I was pretty certain I'd missed the boat. ("Again!" Susan would no doubt note.) In any case, you can find a slide show of her work and an appreciation in The New York Times here and here; and yet another slide show and an obituary here and here at The Guardian, followed by this appreciation by Germaine Greer.

Here is a telling snippet from the appreciation Holland Cotter published in The Times:
"Ms. Bourgeois’s sculptures in wood, steel, stone and cast rubber, often organic in form and sexually explicit, emotionally aggressive yet witty, covered many stylistic bases. But from first to last they shared a set of repeated themes centered on the human body and its need for nurture and protection in a frightening world."
This strikes me as leading us to think about the politics of vulnerability and security. But, from what I can see, none of commentaries accept the invitation.

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