Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait @ The MoMA

At the The MoMA (Museum Of Modern Art) FINISHED

This exhibition explores the prints and works on paper behind the celebrated sculptures, particularly the spider. This repeated motif is based on memories of the artist's mother, it alludes to the strength of Bourgeois' mother, with metaphors of spinning, weaving, nurture and protection. Her mother Josephine was a woman who repaired tapestries in her father's textile restoration workshop in Paris. When Bourgeois was twenty-one, she lost her mother to an unknown illness. A few days after her mother's passing, in front of her father (who did not seem to take his daughter's despair seriously), Louise threw herself into the Bièvre River but (thankfully) he swam to her rescue.

In 1995  Bourgeois wrote 'Ode to My Mother’ and first introduced the spider as the artist’s mother:

The friend (the spider – why the spider?) because my best friend was my mother and she was deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, dainty, subtle, indispensable, neat, and as useful as a spider. She could also defend herself, and me, by refusing to answer ‘stupid’, inquisitive, embarrassing, personal questions.

I shall never tire of representing her.

I want to: eat, sleep, argue, hurt, destroy …

Why do you?

My reasons belong exclusively to me.

The treatment of Fear.

(Quoted in Louise Bourgeois, p.62.)


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Tuesday: 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Wednesday: 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

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Sunday: 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.


The MoMA is often said to be the most influential museum of modern art in the world.

It has a serious permanent collection, hitting all the high notes of modern art history – from Van Gogh to Pollock. While the changing contemporary exhibtions push boundaries and cement artistic careers.

Beginning with the European art of the 1880s, the collection contains unparalleled holdings from every ensuing period of art up to the present day. The idea sprung from the minds of three ladies in 1929, primarily by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (wife of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.) and two of her friends, Lillie P. Bliss and Mary Quinn Sullivan. It opened to the public on November 7, 1929, nine days after the Wall Street Crash and it has remained open ever since.


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