feminine virility

Annette Messager “Le Repos des Pensionnaires,” or “Boarders at Rest”

I admire women artists who take a stereotypically feminine activity like knitting, and push it to an absurd and powerful place where it becomes art.  Annette Messager is the champion of this kind of feminine virility.  Her knit sweaters for sparrows make me want to laugh and cry at the same time.  The artistic end product makes me picture the process of arriving here–the artist gathering dead sparrows, and tenderly knitting outfits for each one.  It strikes me as a very moving meditation on the impermanence and beauty of life.

Cloudy and windy today on the knitting bench.  Neighbor C. came by and teased me saying that if the bench becomes a dating hot spot, the neighborhood will be in trouble!  I said, I have to work on my sex appeal.  She said, she’s seen guys stop to chat with me, and the next thing, they are sitting on the bench talking the whole hour while I knit.  A parenthesis–this has only happened once or twice this summer.  I asked her what kind of nursing she had practiced before retiring last year, and she said “Obstretics.  I got paid to witness miracles every day.” I would have guessed that she was in hospice care–she would have had a wonderful bedside manner, so warm and gentle.  She crossed the street saying that she was going to check email at the neighbor’s since her internet was down.  I said, “That’s what friends are for,” and she said, “Especially if they don’t know it!”   Then T, a youthful doctor, came by and introduced his mom and dad who are visiting from New Jersey.  Several people asked me what I would do with the knit line once it’s finished–again the suggestion that I make a rug!  I said, laughing, “that would be a big rug since the knit line is going to be half a mile long when it’s done.  “But such a pretty color,” one lady said in reply…and she was serious!

 

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