Artist Louise Bourgeois dies at 98

Adrian Searle of The Guardian writes that: Louise Bourgeois, the French-born, American-based artist best known for her sculptures of vast metal spiders, died yesterday in a New York hospital at the age of 98. Bourgeois, who only found widespread acclaim late in life, had suffered a heart attack at the weekend, a spokeswoman said. With her death, American and European art has lost not only a tremendous and hugely influential artist, but a direct link between the art of the 21st century and belle epoque Paris, with cubism, symbolism, surrealism and abstract expressionism, and all that followed. As an emigre French artist who moved to New York in 1938, her art career developed slowly. Critical and commercial success only came when she was in her 60s. Although it was not until 1982 that New York's Museum of Modern Art gave her a retrospective – the first it had ever mounted of a woman artist – she was by then already well-known, if regarded as uncategoriseable, marginal, even eccentric. The exhibition transformed her into the grande dame of American art. In the same year, the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe took a number of famous portraits of Bourgeois. She wore a black coat of monkey fur and carried something under her arm as a sort of prop: a big, obscene black latex sculpture, resembling a gigantic penis and balls. She insisted it was not a phallus at all. It was, she said, her little girl. In Mapplethorpe's images, Bourgeois smiles mischievously for the camera. The image is immensely seductive. Bourgeois made sculptures in all kinds of media; she made wonderful prints and drawings, created claustrophobic installations and fabricated little sewn dolls and giant metal spiders with equal care. She even recorded herself singing childhood songs, broadcast in an empty Venetian tower. There were many-breasted creatures, beautifully carved marble hands, things that were sexual and strange and filled with secrets and barely suppressed violence. Refusing to describe herself as a feminist, she was one anyway. She has lessons for all artists alive now – inpersistence, commitment and individuality, and in the difference between art made as an adjunct to a career, and art borne out of inner necessity. For full source and full article click the Headline. Irish Art