Bourgeois at the Guggenheim

Now on view at the Guggenheim is a retrospective of Louise Bourgeois’ work. The exhibition, co-organized by the Guggenheim and the Tate modern, London, takes a chronological look at the 96-year-old artist’s oeuvre beginning with her early paintings combining female and home imagery which later become integral to her later work at the upper spiral of the museum.

The exhibition takes a close look at the themes with which Bourgeois has worked over the years, from notions of home and fatherhood to the dichotomy between the individual and the collective. The materials changed over the years, from painting to sculptures made of found wood (Personages and Cells), to the more refined marble Cumuls and the softer, more organic resin, latex and plaster Soft Landscapes.

In looking at many of the work, such as the soaring, tall Personages and the carved marble sculptures with rough, unfinished bases, I could not help but think of Constantin Brancusi’s work in a formal sense. However, despite this grounding in artistic predecessors, Bourgeois’ work has a personal and emotional quality which make her emotional explorations unique and intriguing.