This morning before hearing the news that Louise Bourgeois has died I actually sat at my desk and added a section about Louise Bourgeois to my first essay for the Semiotext(e) book about her emotive traumatized Sibylline fragments in her writings and journals and drawings. I have a pink magnet on my bulletin board I bought at her show in New York Art is a Guaranty of Sanity (sic sick sic) Louise Bourgeois and her tantrums her red cells from childhood her red insomnia drawings like a woman possessed Louise Bourgeois writing from her "islands of silence. This witty take on Dorothy Parker's poem:
Seven Easy Ways to End it All
1. Hang yourself
2. Jump off the bridge (I jumped in the Bievere)
3. Take pills (I took Gardenal)
4. Cut your veins
5. Drink poison
6. Put your head in the oven
7. Jump in front of an oncoming train
(Anne Sexton, Antigone, Diane Arbus, Electra, Heloise and Abelard, Marilyn Monroe, Medea, Ophelia, Paola and Francesca, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Vivienne Eliot, Zelda Fitzgerald)
The women she collected like the fragile glasses in her china cabinet sculptures women I collect too fictional and fictionalized Anne Sexton Antigone Marilyn Monroe Medea Ophelia Sylvia Virginia Vivienne and Zelda I loved them too and she she was this woman to me there was no one in the world I wanted to meet more in person than Louise Bourgeois and it is a great regret that this will never happen.
Next weekend I will be staying in a house in Pittsburgh housesitting for a wonderful woman named Barb who is an artist and a fisherman in Alaska who keeps her house as a museum of the Lower East Side...when I met her she told me that she had been to one of Louise Bourgeois' salons and that in the fall I would try.... needed to go and I wanted to go and oh I wanted to go and I thought maybe in the fall...
I don't want to be a mother I am a child she has said of all the women artists who idolized her...So I will think of her not as a mother but as a daughter or a sister....Louise Bourgeois' spiders, her maman, weaving the tapestry, sometimes a destruction, an unravelling, the phrase she repeats, her creative process: I DO I UNDO I REDO. I have many idols but there is no one I mythologized more no loved more than Louise Bourgeois can you love a myth? I don't think of her as an object one of her objects she would cut she would throw in order to work out her rage her violence she was a subject to me a genius she who made art out of her emotions and childhood and was
relentless always relentless. Let's say I loved her more than I made her a myth but I loved too her myths. John and I usually have about $800 in our savings account but we traveled to London for her show at the Tate two years ago for my 30th birthday and took photos of me outside of her cells and then we traveled to see the same show at the Guggenheim in New York these were pilgrammages to me because that is how much she informed my work. She is the maman-spider that suspends huge over Mad Wife and of course Book of Mutter the work about my mother, my childhood one of her cells is the visual epigraph for Mutter. She is literally everywhere in the book of essays I am currently writing. And on our refrigerator we have pictures of Louise Bourgeois that photo of her with the long golden hair like a question mark.
I am right now a mess a sobbing mess full of warmth and gooeyness and sadness. I feel like a contradiction as often I am accused of being removed and unable to bond with people yet the intensity of love I feel for these women artists I so adore...the empathy...the thankfulness...overwhelms me. I feel today like throwing a vase in honor of LB she of the outlaw emotions (LB how she signed everything)...For now I have her framed embroidered towel perennially next to my desk that I bought at the Tate Show that reads in red Keep Calm which always felt like her looking over my shoulder as I writhe and rage and write.