Louise Bourgeois: An Interview

1975 | 00:30:40 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3 | 1/2" open reel video

Collection: On Art and Artists, Interviews, Single Titles

Tags: Art History, Blumenthal/Horsfield Interviews, Interview, Sculpture, Visual Art

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Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) utilized wood, metal, plaster, and bronze in creating her sculptures. Among the many themes in her work are the house (or lair), the spider and the so-called “toi-et-moi” or “you and me.” These subjects derived from a self-defined problem in Bourgeois’s life, the desire to find and express a means of getting along with other people. For Bourgeois, the relationship of one person to another was all-important, and life had little meaning without it. Louise Bourgeois’s remarkable career spanned both the modern and postmodern eras. Her early sculptures stand as pioneering examples of American surrealism; her later explorations of the body and of feminine identity ushered in a new sensibility, one that has profoundly shaped contemporary art.

In this interview, Bourgeois takes account of moments in her life and work in her distinctive.  She discusses the enduring influence of her chaotic and neglectful father (whom she and her mother followed from camp to camp during World War I), her job completing tattered antique tapestries as a girl, and her intense engagement with geometry at the Sorbonne. Bourgeois describes the intensity of her relationship with the Surrealists in the 1940s. The older generation of expatriate French artists dominated New York scene, setting the stage for her intense, antagonistic—and very close—relationship with the older French artists. She also discusses her working process, the secondary place of material in sculpture, and the emotional privilege of the artist. Commenting on the “Feminist Aesthetic,” Louise Bourgeois describes her own solutions to the universally familiar female problems in society, including the importance of forgetting over desire. 

A historical interview originally recorded in 1974 and re-edited in 2002 with support from the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Fund.