In the 1970s Louise Bourgeois became increasingly engaged with a new generation of artists working with installation and performance art. Confrontation (1978) represents an important foray into both disciplines.
This video documents the installation of Confrontation in the Guggenheim Museum and includes archival footage of the first showing of the work at the Hamilton Gallery of Contemporary Art in 1978. The original installation and performance took the form of a fashion show with a pumping soundtrack in which the models, who were friends of the artist including various art-world luminaries, wore outlandish latex costumes embellished with breastlike protuberances. Onlookers sat or leaned against looming wedge-shaped boxes, which surrounded a rich tableau of latex objects laid out on stretchers. Confrontation was an early manifestation of the encasing cell structure that would be fundamental to Bourgeois's later installations of the 1990s. The work's confessional tone addresses issues of vulnerability, exposure, and the need for people to confront themselves, issues which, according to Guggenheim Museum Chief Curator Nancy Spector, have always been at the forefront of Bourgeois’s art.
Confrontation, 1978. Painted wood, latex, and fabric, 86 5/8 x 368 1/8 x 175 9/16 inches (220 x 935 x 445.9 cm). Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 92.4005. All works © Louise Bourgeois