Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait at Museum of Modern Art, September 24, 2017 – January 28, 2018

Photographs by Corrado Serra.

Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait is the first comprehensive survey of Bourgeois’s prints and illustrated books. It places these mediums within the context of the artist’s overall practice and sheds new light on her creative process. The exhibition includes 265 prints (including those in books and series), 23 sculptures, nine drawings, and two early paintings. Louise Bourgeois is organized by Deborah Wye, Chief Curator Emerita of the former Department of Prints and Illustrated Books—a longtime friend of the artist’s and a leading scholar of her work—with Sewon Kang, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints.

Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010), a celebrated sculptor who worked in multiple mediums, was motivated by emotional struggle. Through art, she made her emotions tangible and sought to understand and cope with painful memories, jealousy, anger, anxiety, loneliness, and despair. Art was her tool of “survival,” she said, and her “guarantee of sanity.” This exhibition highlights the themes and motifs that served as visual metaphors for Bourgeois and recur in her artistic practice across seven decades. They vary from architectural forms to growth and germination in nature, from the human body and sexuality to motherhood, and even include symbolic abstraction. Her illustrated books bring attention to another of Bourgeois’s little-known creative outlets: her highly evocative writings, which form the texts for these volumes.” — MoMA

Installation view of Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait

Installation view of Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait

Installation view of Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait

Installation view of Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait

Center: Cell VI, 1991. Painted wood and metal. Collection The Easton Foundation

Lullaby series, 2006. 24 Screenprints, each print Untitled. The Museum of Modern Art

Left: Tornado, version 1 of 2, state I of V, variant, 1991-1992, drypoint. Top center: Spiraling Arrows, state I of II, variant, 2002, engraving. Bottom center: Spiraling Arrows, state II of II, 2004, engraving. Right: Spiral Woman, 1951-52, wood, paint, and steel. The Museum of Modern Art

Left: Untitled, no. 5 of 12, state II of II, from the portfolio, Anatomy, 1989-1990. Drypoint. Center: Torso, Self-Portrait, 1963-64. Plaster. Right: Triptych for the Red Room, 1994. Aquatint, drypoint, and engraving. The Museum of Modern Art

Installation view of Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait

Installation view of Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait

Left: My Inner Life, only state 2008. Etching. Right: Just Like Me, only state, 2007. Etching. The Museum of Modern Art

Center: Forêt (Night Garden), 1953. Painted wood. Collection Glenstone Museum, Potomac, Maryland

Left & Right: Untitled, 2008. Series of 14 etchings, with hand additions. The Museum of Modern Art. Center: Arch of Hysteria, 1993. Bronze. Collection The Easton Foundation

Front: Spider, 1997. Steel, tapestry, wood, glass, fabric, rubber, silver, gold, and bone. Collection The Easton Foundation

Top: Spider II, 1995. Bronze wall piece. Collection The Easton Foundation