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Louise Bourgeois is dead at 98

May 31, 2010 |  6:24 pm

Getprev Louise Bourgeois, whose intensely personal work was inspired by psychological conflict, feminist consciousness and a fertile imagination, has died, two days after she suffered a heart attack.  She was 98.

Known for sculptures of giant spiders, women with extra breasts, double-headed phalluses and rooms that resonate with loneliness and dread, Bourgeois was a fearless creative force whose work could be disturbing and perversely witty. She got little attention from the art world until her seventh decade, but then she became its grande dame, constantly in demand and showered with honors.

Bourgeois made no secret of painful experiences that shaped her work.  In "The Destruction of the Father," a 1974 installation that appeared at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art in 2008-2009, Bourgeois re-created a youthful fantasy of her father being dismembered and devoured by his family.

"She smashed a taboo," said Christopher Knight, The Times' art critic. "Bourgeois was the first modern artist to expose the emotional depth and power of domestic subject matter. Before her, male artists had only nibbled around the edges, and women just weren't allowed."

For Knight's full review of the 2008-09 MOCA exhibition, click here. For the complete Times obituary of  Bourgeois by Suzanne Muchnic, click here.

Above: Bourgeois in 1990 with her sculpture "Eye to Eye, 1970." Credit: Raimon Ramis/Guggenheim Museum