Louise and Me by: Neila Mezynski

Louise and Me New York City, Sunday afternoon, six hopefuls and Louise Bourgeois. For 30 some years, Louise (not Ms. Bourgeois- her choice), has invited artists to her home to share their work; sculptors, painters photographers, writers, dancers even . We sat. We waited. The heat. No air. Louise. Her scrutiny, the grand dame. Others present : Head griller, drivers, husbands, videographer, Pouran Esrafily, recorder of Sunday Salons. Interminable.

The moment arrives. Louise, she enters. A tiny fragile lady replete with white cap on head, for what purpose (90 degrees in the room), supported by her assistant and Pouran. They place the precious 95 year old package on pillows in chair. We greet her with “Holy Mackerel”! Her request. I uttered “Cheez Louise” and was immediately pierced; those eyes. Sweating buckets in the airless room, we were. Louise, a cool cucumber. Mandatory bringing your work to share. I brought photos. Elected to go first, I proceeded to the “hot spot”, a table, her eyes so near, don’t touch. “Why did you come”? he asks, the poetic griller. Fumble and dodge. She looks, she sees. “no, no, no”, her words. Then, instructions to pass the photos around for group appraisal, that huge ostrich egg, my throat. I braced, Louise pierces. More questions: hows and whys. I perked up. She perked up. Six weeks post Louise, new painting territory, a real reason. “Holy Mackerel”! Louise.


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