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Mumbling Beauty Louise Bourgeois | Alex Van Gelder, Jerry Gorovoy, Arezoo Moseni | An Artist Dialogue Series


FREE - Auditorium doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Courtesy Thames & Hudson

In celebration of the new book, Mumbling Beauty Louise Bourgeois, photographer and Bourgeois's friend Alex Van Gelder offers a revealing account of his intimate project photographing the legendary artist. The presentation is followed by a conversation with Bourgeois's longtime friend Jerry Gorovoy about the challenges and surprises of collaborating with a complex artist as well as Alex Van Gelder's other projects. The conversation is moderated by Arezoo Moseni.

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 in the 1980s, ’90s, and 2000s 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.

Mumbling Beauty Louise Bourgeois ©2015 Alex Van Gelder
Mumbling Beauty Louise Bourgeois ©2015 Alex Van Gelder

Copies of Mumbling Beauty Louise Bourgeois (Thames & Hudson, 2015) are available for purchase and signing at the end of event.

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, exhibited at Hauser & Wirth Zürich in 2011. At Bourgeois’s invitation, Van Gelder photographed her at her New York townhouse to produce the series. More than purely a portrait project, Bourgeois considered this collaboration to be an extension of her own work. The exhibition was accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, Alex Van Gelder: Louise Bourgeois, ARMED FORCES, published by Ediciones Polígrafa and Hauser & Wirth. His work has also been exhibited at Cheim & Read as well as a 2014 exhibition of his Meat Portraits at Hauser & Wirth

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. In an interview from 1995, with curator Lawrence Rinder, Bourgeois said: “When you are at the bottom of the well, you look around and you say, who is going to get me out? In this case, Jerry comes and he presents a rope.” Gorovoy is currently the President of Bourgeois’s foundation, The Easton Foundation.

Mumbling Beauty Louise Bourgeois ©2015 Alex Van Gelder
Mumbling Beauty Louise Bourgeois ©2015 Alex Van Gelder

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. She is the recipient of several fellowships and grants including the Carnegie Corporation of New York | New York Times award, Kentler International Work on Site grant, Yaddo Fellowship and Artists Space Independent Project grant. She received a BFA at Utah State University, a MA and MFA at the University of New Mexico, and a MLIS at Pratt Institute. She curates exhibitions and events at The New York Public Library where she has initiated several exhibition and program series featuring the work of emerging and renowned artists, authors, critics, designers and others.

Initiated and organized by Arezoo Moseni in 2004, Artist Dialogues Series provide 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. 

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