Friday, June 28, 2013

My hero / Louise Bourgeois by Tracey Emin

Louise Bourgeois by Robert Mapplethorpe

My hero: Louise Bourgeois 

by Tracey Emin

There isn't a museum in the world that isn't trying to get their hands on her work, yet Louise Bourgeois hasn't become a mainstream artist
Artist Louise Bourgeois in her Brooklyn studio
Louise Bourgeois in her Brooklyn studio. Photograph: Claudio Edinger/Corbis Saba
I first heard about Louise Bourgeois in 1995 when she was shown at the Tate. The curator, Stuart Morgan, always used to say to me that I'd like his friend who lived in New York, and the way he talked about her and her art made me think she was someone of my age. So I was quite shocked when I found out she was in her 80s. I was already making work about personal experiences, but Louise was doing it on a different level and, while her work appears to be very emotional, it is also highly intellectual. Even though she was passionate and romantic, she was also very academic and could have been anything – a scientist, a mathematician – but she chose to do art.
I met her towards the end of her life and we collaborated. She was formidable and I was quite in awe of her presence, her stamina and her attitude. But we got on really well, and it felt empowering just to know someone like that. In Manchester, I am taking part in the 20th anniversary of the critic Hans Ulrich Obrist's "Do it" project in which artists respond to the instructions of artists from an earlier generation. My partner is Louise and I'll be responding to her idea that people should just go out on the street and "smile at a stranger". In response, I've written a poem that will be given to people to take away with them.
Although today there is not a museum in the world that isn't trying to get their hands on her work, Louise hasn't become a mainstream artist. She is still out there in her own orbit. When we collaborated I was obviously interested in the work we were doing, but I had no idea of what she was actually giving me. The repercussions – in terms of people met and friendships made – changed my life, which is something you don't expect when you meet someone. It has been a really lovely thing.

001 My hero / Oscar Wilde by Michael Holroyd
002 My hero / Harley Granville-Barker by Richard Eyre
003 My hero / Edward Goldsmith by Zac Goldsmith
004 My hero / Fridtjof Nansen by Sara Wheeler 
005 My hero / Mother Mercedes Lawler IBVM by Antonia Fraser

007 My hero / Ernest Shepard by Richard Holmes
008 My hero / JG Ballard by Will Self
009 My hero / Alan Ross by William Boyd
010 My hero / Ben the labrador by John Banville

011 My hero / Vicent van Gogh by Margaret Drabble
012 My hero / Franz Marek by Eric Hobsbawm


017 My hero / Jack Yeats by Colm Tóibín
018 My hero / Francisco Goya by Diana Athill
019 My hero / Max Stafford-Clark by Sebastian Barry
020 My hero / Arthur Holmes by Richard Fortey

036 My hero / Robert Lowell by Jonathan Raban
037 My hero / Beryl Bainbridge by Michael Holroyd
038 My hero / Charles Schulz by Jenny Colgan
039 My hero / Oliver Knussen by Adam Foulds
040 My hero / Annie Proulx by Alan Warner

041 My hero / David Lynch by Paul Murray
042 My hero / Edwin Morgan by Robert Crawford
043 My hero / Anne Lister by Emma Donoghue
044 My hero / Jane Helen Harrinson by Mary Beard
045 My hero / Edmund Burke by David Marquand
046 My hero / Shelagh Deleaney by Jeanette Winterson
047 My hero / Christopher Marlowe by Val McDermid
048 My hero / Gwen John by Anne Enright
049 My hero / Michael Mayne by Susan Hill
050 My hero / Stanley Spencer by Howard Jacobson

051 My hero / William Beveridge by Will Hutton
052 My hero / Jean McConville by Amanda Foreman
053 My hero / Alexander Pushkin by Elaine Feinstein
058 My hero / Cy Twombly by Edmund de Waal

079 My hero / Gene Wolfe by Neil Gaiman
087 My hero / Alberto Moravia by John Burnside
096 My hero / Isaac Babel by AD Miller
097 Lucian Freud by Esi Edugyan
100 Thomas Tranströmer by Robin Robertson
102 My hero / David Hockney by Susan Hill


190 My hero / Iris Murdoch by Charlotte Mendelson
194 My hero / René Descartes by James Kelman
199 My hero / Albert Camus by Geoff Dyer


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