Art of Enclosure: The Legacy of Louise Bourgeois

Anyone who attended the Institute of Contemporary Art's Bourgeois in Boston show in 2008 will surely remember the oppressive 10-foot tall arachnid pushing at the edges of a small enclosed space that forced viewers to walk through its cage-like spindles. With the artist's passing this Monday, we're reminded of Louise Bourgeois' contributions to the art world and her unsettling representations of home.

Here at Apartment Therapy, we're concerned with the possibilities of home. But for Bourgeois, whose career spanned over six decades, we get a sense of an interior from an earlier era. Her installations combining pre-war furniture with chain link fences present an idea of home as an instrument of containment. Her “Cell” series with its mini houses made from found objects like discarded doors and grating are virtual sweatshops filled with objects related to feminine domestic stereotypes like sewing supplies and textiles. At a time when the home is celebrated as a object of beauty and personal expression, it's a reminder of just how far we have come.

Images: Louise Bourgeois/VAGA, Peter Bellamy, Rafael Lobato, Jon Pratty/24 Hour Museum, Artnet