PRINT September 2010


Louise Bourgeois

CLAD IN A LUXURIOUS MONKEY-FUR COAT, a sculpture tucked firmly under her arm, Louise Bourgeois boldly confronts the camera with a mischievous grin. Shot in 1982, Robert Mapplethorpe’s image has become iconic. Perhaps lesser known is its checkered history. The portrait, commissioned by Robert Miller (whose gallery represented both artists), would become the frontispiece to the catalogue for Bourgeois’s first retrospective, scheduled to open at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in November of that year. Feeling anxious about the photo shoot, Bourgeois decided to wear one of her favorite pieces of clothing and to bring with her Fillette, 1968, the enormous latex phallus she referred to familiarly as her “doll.” The image chosen for the publication, revealing the artist as confident, provocative, and alluring in equal parts, betrayed a dazzling performance—not least because it came at a

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