Louise Bourgeois: No Exit will exhibit from November 15, 2015 to May 15, 2016 at The National Gallery of Art – West Building, Ground Floor – Gallery 22
The exhibition is organized by Judith Brodie, curator of modern prints and drawings, for the National Gallery of Art.
Louise died May 31, 2010 in New York, New York. Born to a prosperous Parisian family in 1911, she first encountered the surrealists in France as a university student in the 1930s. She wed the American art historian Robert Goldwater and moved to New York in 1938, where she became reacquainted with the European surrealists who were exiled during the war.
Surrealism abounds as an influence and muse for her early prints, paintings, and drawings, as well as the human-size totemic sculptures for which she first gained renown.
The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden are at all times free to the public. They are located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, and are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on December 25 and January 1.
Louise Bourgeois: No Exit will present her key early works, including three pen drawings (1947–1950) that evoke the cascading rivers and mountain peaks of Aubusson, the tapestry-producing region of France and home to Bourgeois’s mother’s family.
Bourgeois’s ties to surrealism and existentialism will be explored through 17 works on paper and 4 sculptures. While surrealism informed Bourgeois’s early endeavors, she bristled when critics labeled her a surrealist, preferring instead to identify herself as an existentialist.
A more precise description courtesy of TheArt Story.org
Bourgeois’s artwork is renowned for its highly personal thematic content involving the unconscious, sexual desire, and the body. These themes draw on events in her childhood for which she considered making art a therapeutic or cathartic process.Bourgeois transformed her experiences into a highly personal visual language through the use of mythological and archetypal imagery, adopting objects such as spirals, spiders, cages, medical tools, and sewn appendages to symbolize the feminine psyche, beauty, and psychological pain.
She often quoted existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and even named one of her sculptures after Sartre’s play No Exit, an act of homage from which this exhibition takes its title.
Works presented will include a rare copy of He Disappeared into Complete Silence (1947), early totem-like sculptures, and M is for Mother (1998), a drawing of an imposing letter M that conveys not only maternal comfort but also maternal control.
Also on view are more recent works: the puritan (1990), an extraordinary book written and illustrated by Bourgeois, one of only a few copies hand-colored by the artist, and the drawing My Hand (1997), an image of the artist’s knobby hand penned in striking red and splayed on a sheet of music paper.