Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait explores the prints, books, and creative process of the celebrated sculptor Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010). Bourgeois’s printed oeuvre, a little-known aspect of her work, is vast in scope and comprises some 1,200 printed compositions, created primarily in the last two decades of her life but also at the beginning of her career, in the 1940s. The Museum of Modern Art has a prized archive of this material, and the exhibition will highlight works from the collection along with rarely seen loans. A special installation will fill the Museum’s Marron Atrium.
The artist’s creative process is the organizing principle behind the exhibition. Over the course of her career, Bourgeois constantly revisited the themes of her art, all of which emerged from emotions she struggled with for a lifetime. Also, she said there was no “rivalry” between the mediums in which she worked, noting that “they say the same thing in different ways.” Here, her prints and illustrated books will be seen in the context of related sculptures, drawings, and paintings, and within thematic groupings that explore motifs of architecture, the body, and nature, as well as investigations of abstraction and works made from old garments and household fabrics. In addition, the evolving states and variants of her prints will be emphasized in order to reveal Bourgeois’s creative thinking as it unfolded.
Bringing together some 220 works, the exhibition celebrates the Museum’s archive of Bourgeois prints as well as the completion of the online catalogue raisonné, Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books, available now in process at moma.org/bourgeoisprints, and ultimately documenting over 4,600 printed sheets in all.
Organized by Deborah Wye, Chief Curator Emerita, Prints and Illustrated Books, with Sewon Kang, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints.