Sadly JC Suarès passed away. I have known him since the 80’s. He was always somehow in my life. Jean-Claude was faithful to his friends and friends of friends. Love was a real commitment: he had been with his wife for over 30 years. He was an inspiring and inspired creative director.
I saw him again when I was editor in chief of France-Amerique, a then weekly publication in French for the French and frenchspeaking people in the US. The new director who had bought the magazine from Le Figaro wanted to revamped the publication. Of course I thought immediately of Jean-Claude. Not a given deal: France-Amerique had a limited budget and was not as prestigious as some periodicals Suarès was coaching. Also the man was a grande gueule, a very outspoken person whose style did not fit everywhere. One thing one had to know about JC was his love for horses. It defined him. He had a few thorough bred and rode a lot. Like his friends he was addicted to freedom..
I was not sure he would be a match in the context of a specialized publication. But he was … Jean-Claude never renounced his french-speaking backround ( his mother was a Jew from Tunisia and his family spent some years in France ) and was happy to be associated to this project. The director was convinced by Jean-Claude’s personnality. In the end, in a different way, both were flattered. Jean-Claude shook our world upside down, bringing in colors, titles, photos. The weekly became a biweekly, ( later to be revamped in a monthly as it is today). The publication was flashier than its precedent version to the dislike of some subscribers. But it was finally alive and that was what really mattered.
Louise Bourgeois died yesterday at 98 in New York. The French like to think of her as a French artist, New Yorkers, as a New Yorker.Louise Bourgois did not care much about either nationality. Her only attachment was to her own story, her own family. ” The subject of pain is the business I am in” quoted Holland Cotter in his New York Times obituary. She resented her father’s long time liaison with a family babysitter, his betrayal. As Editor-in-chief of France-Amerique in July 2008, in the wake of Louise Bourgeois’s major show at the Tate Gallery in London, I remember publishing an essay by photographer and writer Dominique Nabokov. “Portrait of a Fugitive” was the title Dominique chose for her story. Louise and Dominique were neighbors. “We live one block away on 20th street between eight and tenth avenue. We are “Chelsea Girls” and were so well before the district became a Mecca of Contemporary Art. On the way to my photo lab, I walk past her house, a simple looking 3-floor brownstone. Each time, I look at the large barred widow of the downstairs room . A light is always on. This is where the famous Franco-American artist usually works.” Dominique in her piece also described the Sunday sessions at Louise Bourgeois’ . She would be surrounded by a circle of friends and admirers listening to the monologue of “Queen Louise” as Dominique nicknamed her. with humour …”I don’t answer questions. I ASK questions” used to say Louise Bourgeois.” One should not expect from Queen Louise compliments or encouraging sentences.”, said Dominique who has agreat admiration for this artist who waited until her seventies to see her talent fully and internationally recognized . Illustration was a wonderful photo in black and white of Louis Bourgeois ‘s living room, taken by Dominique with Polaroid Colorgraph type 691 film and published in her book ” New York Living Rooms” . ( New York Living Rooms by Dominique Nabokov. Introduction by James Fenton,Penguin September 1998)
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