New York

 View of “Louise Bourgeois,” 2008, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Foreground: Spider Couple, 2003; Untitled, 2004; Untitled, 2004.

View of “Louise Bourgeois,” 2008, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Foreground: Spider Couple, 2003; Untitled, 2004; Untitled, 2004.

Louise Bourgeois

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York

ROBERT PINCUS-WITTEN

THE LOUISE BOURGEOIS RETROSPECTIVE at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York—an exhibition that premiered last year at Tate Modern in London—was a mammoth affair with some 150 works, a hundred of them large sculptures. The show began with the early “Femme Maison” (Woman House) series of the mid-1940s, opening on a modest scale that nevertheless reminded one of Bourgeois’s mythic status in art history. These quirky paintings depict different types of houses set upon female bodies—pedimented facade, clapboard colonial, gambrel barn, apartment tower—in a manner recalling the birdcage hats placed on window-display mannequins by several of the artist’s friends and acquaintances for the International Surrealist Exhibition in Paris in 1938. The affiliation between Bourgeois’s corpus and the abrupt discontinuities of the Exquisite Corpse, that consequential pastime of

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