Sunday, October 24, 2010

Louise Bourgeois, The Fabric Works

Louise Bourgeois, the artist who died early this year at the age of 98, was mainly a sculptor. Her work is in many major museums in the US and Europe. Currently a posthumous show in Paris displays "The Fabric Works" which appeals to me as a quilter and as someone who has enjoyed her work for many years.
Ms. Bourgeois saved clothing, linens, table clothes, and other such fabrics that interested her and used them to make art probably through the last quarter of her life. She did not make quilts, they seemed not to be on her radar, but the large piece at the top of this post is very, very quilt-like in design. A great many of her pieces, like the other two here are suggestive of spider webs. For those who are interested you can Google Louise Bourgeois Fabric Works and reach several site with pictures and essays. She was a fascinating artist.
The spider web motif fits right in with a fascination she had for spiders in her sculpture, sometimes making very huge, black ironwork spiders to stand scarily in public places. One of the most effective I've seen is a spider maybe 3 or 4 feet tall which is displayed at the Dia-Beacon [New York] Gallery. This is a big display in a converted Nabisco cracker/cookie factory that I recommend to anyone who is interested in contemporary art. It is in the Hudson River town of Beacon about 60 miles north of NYC. The topmost gallery which is a bit like an attic room is the home to one of her menacing spiders. It rocks one a bit after the huge Richard Serra sculptures on the lowest level and the chrome sculptures, the all white paintings, the string sculptures and Richard Chamberlin's crushed auto parts sculptures. Bourgeois is an artist those who are interested in fiber art and quilts should read about.

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