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LOUISE BOURGEOIS: WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD

the stones are filled with bowels.

Jean Arp, “The Air Is a Root”

LOUISE BOURGEOIS HAS NEVER HAD her due. In part, this is because of the general devaluation of the female artist, the unwritten (and unacceptable) rule that no woman artist can be that major, but the rule has applied doubly to Bourgeois: the provocative way her sculpture articulates what it is to be female makes it particularly challenging to the context through which importance and value are usually conferred. Her work deals with being a woman in a way that Freud could not have fathomed. It talks about things we don’t want talked about, acknowledges forces we don’t want broadcast loudly, and certainly not let loose. Such forces, we feel, can only add to the world’s mischief, as though our poor state didn’t in the first place have to do with a silence—a conspiracy with the self to stay ignorant—about the unconscious.

Bourgeois

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