Once a fabulous artist reaches 96 years old, it's assumed she gets the key to the city, knighthood or perhaps a solo show at a major New York museum. Louise Bourgeois is that 96 year old artist and she has a fantastic retrospective at the newly scaffold-free Guggenheim museum. If you couldn't afford the skyrocketing fares to fly to Europe this summer, take the train to the upper east side and see this show with every tourist whose exchange rate made it possible for them to hang here. Some artists look even better surrounded by the curved plaster walls of the Guggenheim and Louise is one of them. In my eyes her work is fantastic in any space, but the more unique the better. She is a star of the DIA Beacon, where on the top floor a massive cast metal spider guards some of her more intimate sculptures.
Louise is a veteran to this major museum retrospective thing. In 1982 the MOMA declared her to be the first female artist worthy of a solo show in their hallowed halls. It's shocking that women were so late to this art making game...I would have thought we were making amazing art wellllll before that. But I guess, if the MOMA says so...
I met Louise Bourgeois about five years ago, at one of the weekly salons she still hosts to meet and greet with the younger art crowd. James Siena, longtime WFMU listener and super fab artist, hooked me up. I was scared to death to meet my idol in the flesh. I arrived at her brownstone with a crushing armful of yellow flowers. She told me she didn't want them and to leave them at the door of the church on her block. Once inside she scrawled "rap"on an old chalkboard and asked us to initiate conversation on that thought. Soon after Louise put out a few cans of soda and less cans of beer, served on a wooden board. She nibbled from a box of Junior Mints she took out of the fridge.
I imagine I should remember all of the pithy comments that transpired that evening, but the thing I remember most is the Junior Mints. Grab a box and head up to the Guggenheim before the show closes September 28. Louise Bourgeois is a fearless artist whose imagery gets stronger as she continues to explore new mediums. Considering she is 96, that allows a lot of time for exploration and Junior Mints.