Yesterday a box arrived at my door.
The box held the most carefully packaged gift I have ever received. My son watched as I unwrapped it. We exclaimed.
The gift was a painting by my friend Louise LeBourgeois.
A few months ago, I wrote an article about Louise’s work that was included in the catalog for her exhibition at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery in San Francisco.
In return for my writing, Louise gave me a new window on the world: Water: Away #482, Oil on Panel, 12″ x 12″, 2012
My exchange with Louise draws to my mind a quote from a book that I have loved for decades, The Gift, by Lewis Hyde. Here is the quote, excerpted from the introduction (bear in mind that the book, read in its entirety, allows the quote to open like a lotus):
“It is the assumption of this book that a work of art is a gift, not a commodity. Or, to state the modern case with more precision, that works of art exist simultaneously in two “economics,” a market economy and a gift economy. Only one of these is essential, however: a work of art can survive without the market, but where there is no gift there is no art.”
And here is the gift Louise in kinship gave to me: