Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) is one of the most renowned artists of the 20th century. For more than ninety years, Bourgeois made drawings daily, beginning in childhood and continuing until her death at age 98. She made art because she had to, and described her practice as a means of survival, a lifelong managing of vulnerabilities, traumas and nightmares. As she put it directly, “Art is a guarantee of sanity.”
Bourgeois’ artistic career spanned more than seventy years, although she practiced in relative obscurity until the 1970s. Through these decades she continually transformed personal experience and dream imagery into a visual language distinctly her own. Bourgeois is perhaps best known for powerful sculptures, including monumental spiders, human figures, and anthropomorphic shapes, but she made drawings daily, and returned regularly to printmaking.
The exhibition Louise Bourgeois: Ode to Forgetting focuses on prints and textile works the artist made in her 80s and 90s. Many of the works incorporate fabrics and embroidery, reflecting a lifelong interest in textiles connected to Bourgeois’ childhood years in her family’s business of tapestry restoration. Explorations of time and memory were of importance throughout her life and career, and are especially palpable in these late works.