The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston presents a new exhibition of sculptures, prints, and drawings by Louise Bourgeois, one of todays most important and influential living artist.  Bourgeois in Boston brings together works from area collections, both public and private, creating a uniquely located portrait of the artist.  This long-term exhibition will include works spanning her entire career, presenting Bourgeois's varied styles and powerful themes. Bourgeois in Boston will be on view from March 28, 2007, through March 2, 2008.

 "Bourgeois in Boston shows the depth and breadth of a body of work by one the leading artists of our time," says Jill Medvedow, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art. "Her presence in Boston-area collections represents her considerable influence on contemporary art over several decades."

Bourgeois in Boston will include sculptures, prints, and drawings from area museums including the MIT List Visual Arts Center, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Fogg Art Museum, and the Davis Museum and Cultural Center, as well as local private collections. The heart of the exhibition will be a substantial group of Bourgeois works owned by Boston philanthropic activist and ICA Trustee Barbara Lee. Lee is a great champion of women artists with a particular interest in sculpture and has collected work from the earliest part of Bourgeois's career through the late 1990s. The works demonstrate the artist's use of diverse materials-wood, marble, bronze, rubber-and illustrate the stages of Bourgeois' career as well as the common threads that link her work past and present. 

Louise Bourgeois moved from Paris to New York with her husband Robert Goldwater in 1938, and she has made her home there ever since.  Though she began as an engraver and painter, she turned to sculpture in the 1940s. Her first one-person exhibition was held at the Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York, in 1945. Sixty years later, she continues to produce new work and break artistic ground, and is regarded as one of the 20th century's greatest artists. Bourgeois is known for her emotionally-charged sculptures and drawings, drawn from childhood memories and present-day dreams.

"Bourgeois's works are highly symbolic objects of desire, sexuality, beauty, and anxiety," says Emily Moore Brouillet, Assistant Curator at the ICA.  "Her forms evoke past memories or emotions, but are ultimately open-ended."

The exhibition includes Untitled (1947-49), a painted wood piece from one of the artist's first bodies of work.  As is typical of Bourgeois, the white carved column plays with abstraction and figuration; the pillar has an indentation where a person's navel might be, and the bulbous growths at the top might be interpreted as teeth, breasts, or facial features.  Germinal (1967-92), a white marble piece with mysterious outgrowths, and Janus Fleuri, a hanging bronze from 1968, are similarly anthropomorphic, yet ambiguous. The more recent Cell (Hand and Mirror), (1995), a work from Bourgeois's Cell series of the late 1980s and 1990s, features exquisitely-carved marble hands set in the center of a room-like space made from found doors. A series of mirrors gives viewers multiple views of the cell's interior, allowing visual access to a space they can not physically enter. 

Louise Bourgeois was born in 1911in Paris, where she studied at various art schools, including the Ecole du Louvre, Académie des Beaux-Arts, Académie Julian, and with Fernand Léger. She continued her studies in the United States at the Art Students League in New York. Bourgeois began to draw attention with her sculpture in the 1940s and was very active on the New York art scene, but it was not until the late 1970s that she achieved true fame. In 1982 the Museum of Modern Art organized a major retrospective exhibition entitled Louise Bourgeois: Retrospective.

Bourgeois has had recent exhibitions at Dia: Beacon, Beacon, New York; the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.  Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy; and the Tate Gallery, London.

Bourgeois in Boston is sponsored by Merrill Lynch – Private Bank and Investment Group

Related Program
Thursday, April 5, 6:30 pm, Uncover Thursdays: Art Loves: Louise Bourgeois. Jill Medvedow, Director of the ICA, shares why this exhibition is important to her with a look at some of Bourgeois's most powerful work over the past 60 years. Free tickets available on first-come, first-served basis at the admissions desk one hour before program. Space is limited.


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