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Louise Bourgeois in "Identity"

Active since the early 1940s, Louise Bourgeois has consistently plumbed her own biography for subject matter and inspiration. Working with delicate stone sculptures in public spaces and plaster casts of hands, Bourgeois explores memory, emotion, and strength through works that reach viewers on a visceral level.

“A work of art doesn’t have to be explained,” she says. “If you do not have any feeling about this, I cannot explain it to you. If this doesn’t touch you, I have failed.” Bourgeois’ work challenges viewers to make connections between their own lives and the lives staged in the artist’s installations, drawings, and public sculptures.

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Created by: Susan Sollins & Susan Dowling. Executive Producer & Curator: Susan Sollins. Executive Producer: Susan Dowling. Series Producer: Eve-Laure Moros Ortega. Associate Producer: Migs Wright. Production Coordinator: Laura Recht. Researcher: Quinn Latimer & Wesley Miller. Director: Catherine Tatge. Editor: Donna Marino. Director of Photography: Bob Elfstrom, Mark Falstad, Tom Hurwitz, Terry Hopkins, & Ken Kobland. Assistant Camera: Doug Dunderdale & Steve Nealey. Sound: David Brownlow, Heidi Hesse, Mark Roy, Bill Wander, & Joe Yario. Gaffer/Grip: Lamar Bloodworth & Ned Hallick. Production Assistant: Steve Carrillo, Brian Hwang, Graham Gangi, Scott Stevens, Erick Michaud, Alexei Van Mourik, & Heather Murray. Animation Stand Photography: Marcos Levy & City Lights. Assistant Avid Editor: Matt Prinzig & Heather Burak. Assistant to the Director: Rachel Connolly.

Introductory Segment | Director & Writer: William Wegman. Producer: Andrea Beeman. Cast: Steve Martin, Jason Burch, Chip, Chundo. Director of Photography: Edgar Gil. Costumes: Pam Wegman. Editor: Steve Silkensen. Sound: Martin G. Cole, Marilys Ernst. On-Line Editor: Benton Bainbridge, DMZ. Post Mix: Danny Caccavo, Sync Sound.

Louise Bourgeois Segment | Producer/Editor: Marion Cajori. Associate Producer: Kipjaz Savoie. Director of Photography: Mead Hunt. Assistant Camera: Brian O’Caroll. Sound: Peter Miller. Production Assistant: Anya Popova.

Creative Consultant: Ed Sherin. Art Design and Direction: Open, New York. Animation, Visual Effects & Compositing: Spontaneous Combustion. On-Line Editor: Don Wyllie & Frame:Runner NYC. Composer: Peter Foley. Music Supervisor: John Yaffé. Sound Editing: Margaret Crimmins, Greg Smith, & Dog Bark Sound. Sound Mix: Tony Volante & Soundtrack, New York. Post-Production Supervisor: Michael Weingrad & Keir Randall.

Artworks courtesy of: Louise Bourgeois; Jerry Gorovoy; Maya Lin; Kerry James Marshall; © 2001 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy; Art Institute of Chicago; Art Kaleidoscope Foundation; Cheim & Read; Sarah Clark-Langager, Western Washington University; Donald Young Gallery; Gagosian Gallery; Jack Shainman Gallery; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art; Southern Poverty Law Center; Sperone Westwater Gallery; & Whitney Museum of American Art. Archival material courtesy of: Frey Foundation; Langston Hughes Library; Timothy Hursley; The Hull House; & Chicago Parks Department.

Special Thanks: Anne C. Baker; Alison Beall; Jamie Bennett; Joyce Bobolts; Brooklyn Museum; The Bruce Family; William Bush; City Lights; Susan Delson; Dennis Diamond; Dia Center for the Arts; David Ebner; Thomas G. Grace; Russell Hassell; Bruce Mac Corkindale; Cara Mertes; Margarita Moreno; Juliet Myers; Chris Pullman; Queens Museum; Tamberelli Video; University of Illinois, Chicago; Darin Webb; & Wendy Williams.

Interns: Maytal Ahrony, Joyce Alcantara, Christina Darcy, Leslie Fritz, Johanna Goldfeld, Susannah Gust, Sage Lehman, Kelly McCoy, Genevieve Mercatante, Jeff Seelbach, & Stacy Wu.

Public Relations: Kelly & Salerno Communications. Legal Counsel: Albert Gottesman.

Major underwriting for Season 1 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by Robert Lehman Foundation, PBS, National Endowment for the Arts, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, The Allen Foundation for the Arts, The Broad Art Foundation, The Jon and Mary Shirley Foundation, Bagley Wright Fund, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and The Foundation-to-Life.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Louise Bourgeois

A recognized leader in twentieth-century sculpture, Louise Bourgeois was greatly influenced by the influx of European Surrealist artists who immigrated to the United States after World War II. Her early sculpture was composed of groupings of abstract and organic shapes, often carved from wood. By the 1960s, she began to execute her work in rubber, bronze, and stone, and the pieces themselves became larger and more referential to what has become the dominant theme of her work: her childhood. She has famously stated, “My childhood has never lost its magic, it has never lost its mystery, and it has never lost its drama.”

“A work of art doesn’t have to be explained.”

Louise Bourgeois

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By William Wegman with Steve Martin

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