June 27-September 28, 2008

Defiance (Le Defi)

Le Défi, 1991. Painted wood, glass, and electrical light. 67 1/2 x 58 x 26 inches (171.5 x 147.3 x 66 cm). Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 91.3903. All artworks © Louise Bourgeois



Louise Bourgeois is a full-career retrospective of one of the most important artists of our time. This exhibition, which will fill the entire Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda and one adjacent gallery, will be the most comprehensive examination to date of Bourgeois’s long and distinguished career.

Born almost a century ago, Louise Bourgeois has remained steadfastly at the vanguard of the development of contemporary art for more than 70 years, and continues to create new bodies of work with characteristic energy and restless innovation. Throughout a career that has intersected with many of the leading avant-garde movements of the 20th century, including Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and Post-Minimalism, she has remained resolutely committed to a singular creative vision. Although her oeuvre includes painting, drawing, printmaking, and performance, Bourgeois is best known for her sculptures, which range in scale from the intimate to the monumental, and across a diverse array of mediums including wood, bronze, latex, marble, and fabric. Moving freely between abstraction and figuration, she has developed a richly symbolic visual idiom that encompasses totemic forms, ambiguously gendered anatomical fragments, and towering spiders, as well as the assemblages of found objects that are encased in her environmental-scale installations. These images powerfully articulate the psychological imperatives that drive her artistic process, based in large part on memories of a troubled childhood in France and her subsequent struggle to find personal equilibrium throughout her adult life. Louise Bourgeois presents a nuanced exploration of the artist’s distinctive iconography and major themes, in an installation that evokes both an intensely individualized process of introspection, and the universal complexities of the human experience.

This exhibition is organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in association with Tate Modern, London, and Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Support for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presentation was provided by the Leadership Committee for Louise Bourgeois: John Cheim and Howard Read; Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr.; Karsten Greve; Xavier Hufkens
Gallery; Tina Kim and Hyun-Sook Lee; Jennifer and David Stockman; Ginny Williams; and Iwan Wirth.