By Deborah Wye
In 2012, MoMA launched the online catalogue, Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books (moma.org/bourgeoisprints) to document the full range of Bourgeois’s printmaking. At that time, the catalogue included some 400 works. The number has now grown to nearly 3,000, with an ultimate goal of approximately 4,000 items. The site is designed for the general art pubic as well as for specialists.
The current relaunch completes the website’s architecture and functionality. Most significantly, it features 14 thematic links on a newly-designed home page. Bourgeois described her practice as an “exorcism,” with a relentless effort “to dig and to reveal,” and she explored the same emotional terrain again and again. Core themes emerged and they provide key investigative tools for understanding her art.
Spiders, Body Parts, Figures, and Motherhood & Family are among those themes that will be well-known to followers of Bourgeois’s work, while others—Abstraction, Nature, Spirals, and Words, for example—are less familiar. Each is represented by an interactive page with background text and search buttons that allow users to easily locate all relevant prints and illustrated books. Related drawings and sculpture are also included for each work to allow for a comprehensive view of these motifs.
The Bourgeois website offers additional information and navigational tools: from a biography and fully-illustrated chronology, to standard search options by date or by title, to print-specific finding aids, such as “Printers & Publishers,” “Techniques,” and “Books, Portfolios & Series.” The artist’s creative process is also viewable at a glance, with each stage in a composition’s development laid out in a clearly designed “Evolving Composition Diagram” that includes the ability to compare and contrast individual sheets.
Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books is a comprehensive resource for the study and appreciation of an artist whose career spanned over 70 years, from the time of her arrival in New York from Paris in 1938, to the last year of her life in 2010. It is a collaborative effort at MoMA, produced by a curatorial team of cataloguers, together with the Department of Collection and Exhibition Technology, and the Department of Digital Media. Outside web designers and developers, as well as the Louise Bourgeois Studio, are also integral to the project. Deborah Wye, former Chief Curator of the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books, and a longtime Bourgeois specialist, directs the project.
Visit moma.org/bourgeoisprints to learn more about Louise Bourgeois and her creative process.
The website is supported by The Easton Foundation.
Read more here:: Major Relaunch of Louise Bourgeois Website