Spiders of Louise Bourgeois
Longtime Chicagoans may recall the 1983 retrospective of the work of sculptor Louise Bourgeois that came to the Museum of Contemporary Art (back when the museum was on East Ontario Street). It was an exhibit best seen, perhaps, in the company of a psychotherapist: primal and dark, layered with pain, abuse, betrayal, and brutality. This retrospective left one looking forward—warily—to further work from this provocative sculptor.
There was more work, much more, all suffused with psychic confession. Bourgeois may be best known for her series of giant spiders, which she associated with her mother. The extensive installation Spider (1997) is the subject of a book by Mieke Bal, Louise Bourgeois’ Spider: The Architecture of Art-Writing, which comes into close engagement with the work and the issues of biography and autobiography which are never far away.
The New York Times has an obituary and a slideshow of some of her works.