At long last, getting in just under the wire of the show closing and me leaving for vacation, I made it to Chelsea this afternoon to see the Louise Bourgeois Show at Cheim and Read
. It was worth the wait. Just look at these fresh, bold, summery collages of colored cloth:
I love Bourgeois' work so much, and I think about her life as an artist a lot. She worked until she died
, which wasn't until she was 98.
I visited her once in the Chelsea loft she lived in during one of her artist salons in 2005. At the time, her number was publicly listed and anyone could call and invite themselves, so I did.
I arrived at three in the afternoon and was whisked into her parlor to sit and wait. The walls were covered in years of warped and peeling exhibition posters, drawings, and notes. It felt like we were sitting in the living room of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler, (remember her?) and all of us, drinking cognac and coca cola and red wine were completely hushed when out from the decrepit kitchen shuffled the queen herself, in bare feet and leaning on a walker she came and sat down amongst us, and one at a time we all sat next to her and showed her our drawings.
I think I used her powder room three times, not because I had to go, but because from the toilet you could look at the sketches that were drawn right into the wall in the tiny little space. The whole afternoon felt like a pilgrimage, and I remember thinking, upon my return to Chicago, that anything
could happen in New York. I met Louise Bourgeois and sat in her living room on her ratty old couch, for god's sake. It was pretty cool.