David Salle is a painter and stage designer. His most recent book is How to See: Looking, Talking, and Thinking about Art. (December 2017)

IN THE REVIEW

Outing the Inside

Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait

an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, September 24, 2017–January 28, 2018

Intimate Geometries: The Art and Life of Louise Bourgeois

by Robert Storr
In her long life, Louise Bourgeois experienced both extremes of the female artist story—marginalization, even invisibility early on, and decades later a fierce and passionate following by younger artists and curators. Her status was based on an independence from fashion, and on calling attention to emotions that most people prefer to keep hidden: shame, disgust, fear of abandonment, jealousy, anger. Occasionally, joy or wonder would surface, like a break in the clouds. But Bourgeois was an artist, not a therapist. Her imagination was tied to forms, and how to make them expressive. Her gift was to represent inchoate and hard-to-grasp feelings in ways that seem direct and unfiltered.

Clothes That Don’t Need You

Clothes/Not Clothes: War/Peace, from ‘Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between’

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between

an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, May 4–September 4, 2017
What kind of artist is Rei Kawakubo? Let’s call her a combinatory formalist. She is unusually adept at combining the many disparate influences that course through her designs into unlikely, arresting, contrapuntal compositions. She is first of all a creator of images—of pictures liberated from their original settings, and in this she belongs with the Pictures Generation, that group of mediacentric artists who were among her first devotees. Fashion is the place where the associative, imagistic mind can run riot with impunity; it’s a postmodernist playground.