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Mumbling Beauty : Louise Bourgeois

In celebration of his book, Mumbling Beauty Louise Bourgeois (Thames & Hudson), photographer and friend of artist Louise Bourgeois Alex Van Gelder, along with the artist’s assistant Jerry Gorovoy, reveal the world of a complex artist. The conversation is moderated by Arezoo Moseni and was recorded on February 24, 2016. From 2008 to 2010 Louise Bourgeois allowed Alex Van Gelder into her private world—her studio and home—and indulged his lens, while she worked, rested, waited—mischievous, or lost in thought, weary of decrepitude, raging, defiant to the end. She fills the camera with her presence. It is a profound portrait of an artist of the utmost consequence and a piercing study of extreme age. Louise Bourgeois was one of the last surviving artists of the high modernist era, and her early work anticipated what would come in the late modern and postmodern eras, including minimalism, installation art, and body art. However, she did not achieve fame until after her seventieth year, discovered and heralded by a new generation. Once discovered, her reputation grew with an array of major international exhibitions and a burst of creativity. Throughout, her art is confessional, psychological, and fraught with fear, anger, and sexuality. Alex Van Gelder’s collaborative portrait and book Mumbling Beauty Louise Bourgeois is in many ways a message from Bourgeois to the world, her chosen epitaph, scrawled in her own way by gesture, expression, and posture. Despite the frailty and decrepitude of her near one hundred years, she defies her vulnerability. Alex Van Gelder lives and works in Paris. Based in Africa for several years, Van Gelder is a collector of twentieth-century African photography. Works from his collection were exhibited at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland in 2006, and Phaidon published Life & Afterlife in Benin, a book of the collection, to accompany the exhibition. He has published many books and his own work has been exhibited internationally. Van Gelder’s previous artistic projects include a portfolio of 18 photographs of Louise Bourgeois’s hands in the final years of her life Jerry Gorovoy was Louise Bourgeois’s assistant and close friend for over 30 years. He installed and organized exhibitions of her work throughout the world, as well as managed her day-to-day affairs. Arezoo Moseni is an artist. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at major venues in the U.S. and abroad such as FIAC 2014, and it is held in numerous public and private collections including the Brooklyn Museum, Bibliotheque nationale de France, and Musee de La Photographie. Initiated and organized by Arezoo Moseni in 2004, Artist Dialogues Series provides an open forum for understanding and appreciation of contemporary art. Artists are paired with critics, curators, gallerists, writers or other artists to converse about art and the potential of exploring new ideas.


New York Public Library


The New York Public Library's public programs of the Artist Dialogues Series, are recorded and shared with as part of a partnership coordinated by artist, curator, and senior librarian Arezoo Moseni.