Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Spider, The Mistress and The Tangerine

I finally watched the most recent documentary on Louise Bourgeois last evening. While I determined to turn it off twenty minutes in (feeling too tired at first to endure 99 minutes of Bourgeois's typically opaque intensity) I somehow could not pull myself away in the end, and I watched to the very last credit.

I wonder how woman marry, have children and make art of the highest quality. (I wonder this a lot actually, and so few women who've managed to juggle all three are interested in talking it seems.) Bourgeois of course never touches upon the how, as those questions/wonderings are no doubt so very far from her thinking these days, but I wanted to watch until the end nonetheless to see IF she'd shed some light. Perhaps her intensity is a clue. And her willful, defiant, almost hermetic vision? Cantankerousness might be a requisite? A predilection for hot pink fur coats and spangly hats, singular red rose always in hand?

In the end, I watched because she is a captivating anomaly. She is obviously of the art world, while being so, so out of it. She resides quite fixedly in the history of 20th century art; but she's also adamantly in the present dialogue. She taps into her past and her memories to an almost embarrassing degree, and yet the work is oddly accessible, even frank.

The bigger, more important question/lesson/inquiry to pull from the film might be more readily, "How does one tunnel so deeply into one's own pursuits and still emerge with whole, accessible, enigmatic, fully unique and alive work?"

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