The Easel

31st August 2021

Actions speak louder than words: Louise Bourgeois at the Jewish Museum

A troubled childhood led Bourgeois to decades of psychoanalysis. She also stated that “my art is my psychoanalysis”. Putting these together, a current show claims that her jottings about analysis explain her work. Don’t be taken in, advises the writer, Bourgeois was known for “self-mythologizing” and mischief making. The more one looks at her work without preconceptions, “the less Freudian it gets … [Bourgeois] is still a few steps ahead of her archivists”.

24th August 2021

Shahzia Sikander – An Extraordinary Past in Present Time

To the non-specialist, Indo-Persian miniature painting seems a world unto itself, unchanging. Well, not quite. Sikander trained in this artform but has since “blown it open” by bringing abstract elements into these finely detailed works. After her move to the US, Sikander’s work was initially greeted with the ‘rebel Muslim woman’ label. Now it is recognized as a study of womanhood and femininity where Mughal art is a reference point but not its focus.

A First-Rate Weathervane Show at the American Folk Art Museum

When people walked everywhere, weathervanes were a building’s “exclamation point”. Besides providing weather information they also declared allegiance, or perhaps just local pride. As such they were a notable area of American craft and “at their finest, as much art as the best American silver and furniture.” At some point, though, when horse and buggies were common, their audience dwindled and weathervanes became merely quaint. More images are here.