Wye provides an expert overview not only of Bourgeois’s prints and artist’s books, but her work as a whole.
In 1982, as a young curator at the Museum of Modern Art, Deborah Wye organized a retrospective exhibition devoted to Louise Bourgeois, who was then 70 years old. It was the museum’s first one-person survey of a woman artist in well over 30 years. Later, Bourgeois donated an archive of her printed work to MoMA and, in 1994, Wye organized an exhibition of Bourgeois’s prints to accompany the publication of a catalogue raisonné. Over the next 17 years, the artist, who died in May 2010, produced a vastly expanded body of prints, for which Wye has now edited a comprehensive online catalogue. The exhibition Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait, on view at MoMA until January 28, 2018, celebrates that publication.
Wye, now Chief Curator Emerita of Prints and Illustrated Books at the Museum, and I are standing in the museum’s yawning Marron Atrium, where an immense spider sculpture in the center (with a smaller one high up on the wall), and a panorama of large-scale prints, offer a somewhat intimidating introduction to the exhibition, the balance of which is installed in the third-floor Edward Steichen Galleries. Wye organized the show and wrote the accompanying catalogue, which provides an expert overview not only of Bourgeois’s prints and artist’s books but her work as a whole.
Image Caption: Louise Bourgeois, No 1 of 14 from the installation set “À L’Infini (To Infinity)” (2008), soft ground etching, with selective wiping, watercolor, gouache, and pencil additions. Sheet: 40×60″ (101.6 x 152.4 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchased with funds provided by Agnes Gund, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, Marlene Hess and James D. Zirin, Maja Oeri and Hans Bodenmann, and Katherine Farley and Jerry Speyer, and Richard S. Zeisler Bequest (by exchange) (© 2017 The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, NY)