Poet with a Needle

At 94, Louise Bourgeois still summons poignant imagery from deep within herself

Does Bourgeois set out to shock and scandalize? Maybe sometimes. I think it's more to the point to say that she draws her imagery from deep within herself, perhaps even from her subconscious. She's certainly no stranger to surrealism.

Bourgeois grew up surrounded by fabric; her family was in the business of restoring tapestries and furniture.
Christopher Burke
Bourgeois grew up surrounded by fabric; her family was in the business of restoring tapestries and furniture.
Cheim Read

And although she has written extensively about her work, she's also wary of artists who try to explain too much about what they've done. The catalog includes an excerpt from a piece she wrote for Design Quarterly in the 1950s: "An artist's words are always to be taken cautiously. The finished work is often a stranger to, and sometimes very much at odds with, what the artist felt or wished to express when he began." Everything in "Stitches in Time" suggests that these words are every bit as relevant as when Bourgeois wrote them more than half a century ago.

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