Louise Bourgeois, Freud’s Daughter, at THE JEWISH MUSEUM

We Fight to Build a Free World
An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz
The Jewish Museum
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St, New York 10128
May 21 – September 12, 2021
Featured image: Louise Bourgeois, Hysterical, 2001. Fabric, stainless steel, glass, wood, and lead. © The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY; Photo: Christopher Burke.
All images copyright and courtesy of the artist(s) and The Jewish Museum, New York

Perhaps more than any other artist of the twentieth century, Louise Bourgeois (1911 – 2010) produced a body of work that consistently and profoundly engaged with psychoanalytic theory and practice as established by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). Bourgeois considered the act of artmaking a form of psychoanalysis, believing that through it she had direct access to the unconscious.

Bourgeois underwent psychoanalytic treatment from 1952 to 1985 (most intensively from 1952 to 1966), and produced an extensive written record of her analysis and its effects on her life. Consisting of dream recordings, process notes, and other texts, her findings constitute a parallel body of work that not only sheds light on the artist’s methods and motivations but also represents an original contribution to the field of psychoanalysis, especially with respect to female sexuality, symbol formation, and the nature of the artist.

Perhaps more than any other artist of the twentieth century, Louise Bourgeois (1911 – 2010) produced a body of work that consistently and profoundly engaged with psychoanalytic theory and practice as established by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). Bourgeois considered the act of artmaking a form of psychoanalysis, believing that through it she had direct access to the unconscious.

Bourgeois underwent psychoanalytic treatment from 1952 to 1985 (most intensively from 1952 to 1966), and produced an extensive written record of her analysis and its effects on her life. Consisting of dream recordings, process notes, and other texts, her findings constitute a parallel body of work that not only sheds light on the artist’s methods and motivations but also represents an original contribution to the field of psychoanalysis, especially with respect to female sexuality, symbol formation, and the nature of the artist.

The exhibition will feature approximately 50 artworks from throughout Bourgeois’s career, including the Personages of the late 1940s; the organic forms in plaster and latex of the 1960s; the pivotal installation The Destruction of the Father (1974); Passage Dangereux (1997), the largest of the artist’s Cell installations; and fabric sculptures from the last 15 years of her life. These works will be contextualized with a focused selection of Bourgeois’s original writings—many of them presented to the public for the first time—to illuminate her art in light of her complex and ambivalent relationship with Freudian psychoanalysis.