Tuesday, September 22, 2009

98 Year Old Creative Force in Art

It seems there are lots of emails poking fun at the way we age. Truly, I find them funny. Yet there is something stereotypical in assuming a loss of our "creative juices" as we age. The renowned French artist, Louise Bourgeois, who completes 98 years on Dec. 25th, is an example of continuing original creativity regardless of age.

As a younger woman, Ms. Bourgeois created monumental works in marble, glass, latex, rubber, and metal. Her best-known sculptures are her 30-foot high spiders in a series titled, "Maman." (They are tributes to her mother and the other women who worked in the family business of repairing and reweaving valuable tapestries.)

When she was 88 years old (1999), she accepted a commission as the first artist to create a monumentally-sized work for the Tate Modern. The commission was to fill Turbine Hall - a room which is 30-feet high and 500 feet long. The installation was titled, "I Do I Undo and I Redo."

Louise Bourgeois has also explored her ideas in printmaking, painting and performance. In 2007, the Tate Modern curated a survey of her works over a span of 70 years. The survey included some 200 pieces.

As of this writing, Ms. Bourgeois maintains a vital and busy life. She conducts Sunday salons for artists, has an exhibition of her textile prints in Stockholm,and is working on a commission for 2010 for the Maison de Balzac in Paris.

As one writer stated, "At 98, and still working, she is a fierce woman who is original, curious, intelligent, sensitive, generous, wildly imaginative, sexual and uncompromising."
Imagine yourself at age 98 - what would you like to have someone write about you?


  1. What an amazing person! I'd want to have the same things written about me. Perfect! Karla

  2. I'd like to have those things said about me right now! How wonderful she is.

  3. Wow! That is inspiring! Ruth

  4. Wow! How impressive is that!!! Carol

  5. Thank you. I had heard of her but I didn't know she is still alive. Jae

  6. This is so inspiring. As an artist on my way to a very competitive area of the country, I worry about my age. Yet, I'm inspired by my grandmother and older women who continue to make contributions to this planet until their bodies retire and their souls move on!! Thank you R-Atencio for reminding us that we are useful in this world regardless of age.