Curator Iris Müller-Westermann

Curator Iris Müller-Westermann, 2015 Photo: Åsa Lundén/Moderna Museet

Amei Wallach & Iris Müller-Westermann

Meet Amei Wallach, co-director and co-producer of the documentary Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress and The Tangerine, in a talk with Iris Müller-Westermann, curator of the exhibition Louise Bourgeois – I Have Been to Hell and Back.


At 4.30–5.30 PM

Talk between Amei Wallach and Iris Müller-Westermann

At 5.30–7 PM

Film: ”Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress and The Tangerine”

Amei Wallach is an award-winning art critic, journalist and curator, and had been writing about Louise Bourgeois for many years before the intensive 14-year adventure of filming the artist began.

Director ’s Statement

On the morning of May 28, 1993, Marion Cajori and I arrived at Louise Bourgeois’ Brooklyn studio to begin the first day of shooting. Marion was an award-winning filmmaker who had recently debuted her film portrait of the painter Joan Mitchell. As an art critic, I had written about many of the great artists of our time, including Louise. But neither Marion nor I was prepared for the electricity of the artist’s first encounter with the camera. On that very first day, dressed in blue, haloed in the white light pouring through her studio window, Louise spoke with mesmerizing passion and spontaneity: My emotions are inappropriate to my size, so they bother me and I have to get rid of them. My emotions are my demons.

Over the years she revealed to us on camera just what that meant, both in the beauty and aggressiveness of her sculpture, and in how she related to us and the world. I can think of no other artist with either Louise’s screen presence or her generosity in sharing the deepest roots of her anguish and her art. As filmmakers we had the good fortune to experience the full force of her personality and the process by which her unconscious connections become works of art. This is Louise’s story, in her actions, her art and her words. There is nothing quite like seeing art in a museum or gallery. But the camera has a special relationship to the work, particularly if it is as fraught and mysterious as Louise Bourgeois’s. Through film, it is possible to experience the range and depth up, close and personal. The camera has the privilege of traveling over, through and into her installations and sculptures, and cinematographers Mead Hunt and Ken Kobland have taken dazzling advantage of this opportunity. We filmed her work in New York, Madrid, Milan, Venice and London, sometimes spending all night to light a particular shot and capture the magic. In August 2006, Marion Cajori died of cancer at the age of 56. It became my task to complete the film. This would have been impossible for a first time director and producer without Marion’s remarkable example, the extraordinary editing talents of Ken Kobland, the production wizardry of Kipjaz Savoie or the wisdom of George Griffin, representing the Art Kaleidoscope Foundation as executive producer.

Amei Wallach co-director, co-producer

Amei Wallach is co-director and co-producer, with the Marion Cajori, of ”Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress and The Tangerine”. Marion Cajori died in 2006, before editing could begin, and it became Wallach’s task to shape the film as a journey into the art and the psyche of an icon of American art.

About Amei Wallach

Amei Wallach is an award-winning art critic, journalist and curator, and had been writing about Louise Bourgeois for many years before the intensive 14-year adventure of filming the artist began. Wallach’s articles have appeared in such publications as The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Smithsonian, New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Architectural Digest, Art in America and ARTnews. She was chief art critic for New York Newsday and on-air arts commentator for the nationally televised PBS MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour. She has written or contributed to 11 books. Her film, ”Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Enter Here” was released in 2013. She is a board member and former president of AICA/USA.

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