Louise Bourgeois, Nature Study (Velvet Eyes), 1984, marble, steel, 26 × 33 × 27". © The Easton Foundation; VAGA, NY.

North Adams


Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA)
87 Marshall Street
May 28, 2017–May 28, 2027

Curated by Susan Cross

An event of singular importance is scheduled this spring at MASS MoCA—a decade-long installation of three monumental marbles by Louise Bourgeois, each weighing several tons and occupying a sprawling measure of floor space reinforced by steel supports, with an additional aluminum sculpture on five-year loan. One of the colossi on display, Untitled, 1991, comprises two marble slabs wedged together. The work incarnates a team of mythic personages, their heads rising above a stylized frieze of the sea, whose curling waves seemingly allude to Poseidon and riff on the Pergamon Altar, which depicts the battle of the giants against the Olympian deities. For Bourgeois, an artist who was uniquely committed to the psychoanalytic origins of her art, such figures dwell within both the realm of the gods and that of the unconscious. Might Untitled not be read as a parable of the battle Bourgeois herself fought against the Greenbergian Cubism-onward-to-abstraction paradigm of modernist art? Here, again, Bourgeois is seen sculpting the great contrarian alternative to that repressive, patriarchal sequence.