Destruction of the Father / Reconstruction of the Father: Writings and Interviews, 1923--1997

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $23.28
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 40%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (18) from $23.28   
  • New (11) from $23.28   
  • Used (7) from $23.68   


edited by Marie-Laure Bernadac and Hans-Ulrich Obrist"Everyday you have to abandon your past or accept it and then if youcannot accept it, you become a sculptor."Since the age of twelve, the internationally renowned sculptor LouiseBourgeois has been writing and drawing ;first a diary preciselyrecounting the everyday events of her family life, then notes andreflections. Destruction of the Father ;the title comes fromthe name of a sculpture she did following the death of her husband in1973 ;contains both formal texts and what the artist calls"pen-thoughts": drawing-texts often connected to her drawings andsculptures,with stories or poems inscribed alongside the images.Writing is a means of expression that has gained increasing importancefor Bourgeois, particularly during periods of insomnia. The writing iscompulsive, but it can also be perfectly controlled, informed by herintellectual background, knowledge of art history, and sense ofliterary form (she has frequently published articles on artists,exhibitions,and art events). Bourgeois, a private woman "withoutsecrets," has given numerous interviews to journalists, artists, andwriters, expressing her views on her oeuvre,revealing its hiddenmeanings, and relating the connection of certain works to the traumasof her childhood. This book collects both her writings and her spokenremarks on art, confirming the deep links between her work and herbiography and offering new insights into her creative process.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Alice Quinn
Bourgeois is exceedingly intelligent and droll . . . what she writes is thoroughly moving. -- Artforum
Library Journal
This collection of writings and statements by sculptor Bourgeois includes letters, journal entries, poetry, and interviews with the artist spanning the entire period from her student days to just last year. The impression created is one of lifelong preoccupation with a set of personal concerns that, as curator Bernadac says in the introduction, reflect "the fundamental dichotomy between professional control and spontaneity, between the conscious and the unconscious, between the expression that is structured, assembled, and thought through, and the expression that is presented raw, as the product of an urgent impulse." Readers not already familiar with Bourgeois's work will appreciate the small photographs of sculptures, drawings, and prints included. Recommended for scholarly and specialized collections.--Kathryn Wekselman, Univ. of Cincinnati Lib.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262522465
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 5/22/1998
  • Series: Writing Art
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 871,145
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 8.12 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 15
Introduction 18
Letters to Colette Richarme 1937-1940 23
Select Diary Notes 1939-1944 40
Letter to Alfred H. Barr, Jr. 1942 43
Natural History 1944 44
On Early Paintings 1947 45
He Disappeared into Complete Silence 1947 46
She Lost It 1947/1992 50
The Puritan 1947/1990 51
Select Diary Notes 1949-1954 56
Letter to Alfred H. Barr, Jr. 1950 62
The Genesis of a Work of Art 1950 64
Letter to Erick Hawkins 1951-2 65
An Artist's Words 1954 66
Autobiographical Notes Early 1960s 67
Select Diary Notes 1960-1979 70
On the Creative Process Mid 1960s 74
Form Late 1960s 75
Brief Account of Career c. 1965 77
Program for Work in Sculpture 1968 79
Letter to Albert Elsen 1968 80
William Rubin - Louise Bourgeois: Questions and Answers 1969 81
The Fabric of Construction 1969 87
On Janus Fleuri 1969 90
Sixty-one Questions 1971 92
Forum: Women in Art 1971 97
Letter to the Editor, Art in America 1972 97
Does Art Have a Gender? 1972 98
A Merging of Male and Female 1974 101
Interview with Susie Bloch 1976 102
Note Late 1970s 110
Statements 1979 111
A Memoir: Louise Bourgeois and Patricia Beckert Late 1970s 117
Two Conversations with Deborah Wye 1979/1981 123
Select Diary Notes 1980-1987 130
Child Abuse 1982 133
Symbolic Architecture 1981 136
On Fulfillment 1985 137
Meanings, Materials, and Milieu: from an Interview with Robert Storr 1986 140
Taking Cover: Interview with Stuart Morgan 1988 150
Statements from an Interview with Donald Kuspit 1988 157
When and Why Did You Decide to Become an Artist? Late 1980s 167
On The Sail 1988 168
Statements 1988 173
Acceptance Speech: CAA Achievement Award 1989 174
The Passion for Sculpture: a Conversation with Alain Kirili 1989 176
Freud's Toys 1990 186
Interview with Trevor Rots 1990 191
MacDowell Medal Acceptance Speech 1990 198
Rushes: on Robert Mapplethorpe 1993 202
On Cells 1991 205
On Twosome 1991 209
Obsession 1992 211
On Teaching Art 1990s 214
Statements from Conversations with Robert Storr 1980s/1990s 215
Statement: Documenta IX 1992 221
Self-expression is Sacred and Fatal 1992 222
On Cell (You Better Grow Up) 1993 231
Mortal Elements: Pat Steir Talks with Louise Bourgeois 1993 234
Interview with Douglas Maxwell 1993 239
A Conversation with Bernard Marcade 1993 248
Arena 1993 253
In a Strange Way, Things Are Getting Better and Better: Interview with Francesco Bonami 1994 263
A Conversation with George Melrod 1994 269
Native Talent 1994 271
Collecting: an Unruly Passion 1993 275
Louise Bourgeois: Album 1994 277
Dominique Bozo: a Possible Portrait 1995 286
Interview with Hans-Ulrich Obrist 1995 287
Interview with Marie-Laure Bernadac 1995 293
Tender Compulsions 1995 304
Transcendence: Interview with Gary Koepke 1995 307
Interview with Vincent Katz 1995 310
Ode a ma mere 1995 321
Otte 1995 331
Looks and Words 1995 333
Insomniac Drawings 1994-1995 337
The View from the Bottom of the Well 1996 343
Interview with Jerry Gorovoy and Marie-Laure Bernadac 1996 347
Interview with Michael Auping 1996 351
On Beauty: a Conversation with Bill Buckley 1997 357
Blue Days and Pink Days 1997 362
Select Diary Notes 1991-1997 364
Art is Sanity In progress 367
Biography, Select Individual Exhibitions, Select Bibliography, Select Public Collections, Film and Video, Awar
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)