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Louise Bourgeois in "Identity"

The final segment Identity focuses on Louise Bourgeois. Active since the early 1940s, Bourgeois has consistently plumbed the 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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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

2:13
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By William Wegman with Steve Martin

13:26
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13:05
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