Vigorous still at ninety years of age, this renowned and controversial artist continues to amaze with her powerful, deeply personal sculptures and assemblages that often reflect painful memories of an unconventional childhood. Born in Paris, France, into a well-to-do, art-oriented household, Bourgeois grew up with a temperamental, egoistic father who took his children's live-in English teacher as his mistress, as her caring, hardworking mother "accepted the unacceptable." Despite her love for her parents, Bourgeois was deeply offended by this outrageous domestic triangle, and much of her work reflects intense feelings of frustration, anger, and resentment. After her mother died, Bourgeois moved out of her father's house, opened a small art gallery, married an American art historian, and with her husband, soon left Paris and the onus of a disturbing family history behind, to make a new life in New York City, where she resides to this day. She has said, "I was in effect a runaway girl." Bourgeois is hailed not only for her stunning, revelatory works, but also for her feminist concerns. The spider, an important and popular image in her art, symbolizes the nurturing, industrious feminine, much like Bourgeois's own mother, who was "deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, and dainty, subtle, indispensable, neat and useful as a spider," and who, the artist has also said, was her best friend. This well-written, profusely illustrated biography of an extraordinary, complex woman is fascinating and will be an inspirational addition to any young adult art collection. Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Biblio. Chronology. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasionallapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003, Harry N. Abrams, 80p, Culberson
Gr 7 Up-To mix a biography of Bourgeois with an explanation of her sculpture, fit in her impact on the artistic community, and remain accessible to students may seem to be an impossible feat, but Greenberg and Jordan have done it. Through solid research and interviews with Bourgeois, the woman's stories and work come to life with poignant clarity. Her childhood years and her relationship with her parents are examined and their effect on her work is clear in the abundant black-and-white and full-color photographs. Bourgeois's place in the art world was sealed in 1969 when she became the first woman sculptor to have a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. An explanation of how to view sculpture using Bourgeois's Couple (2001) as an example, an area list of locations where her art is displayed, and lists of the works pictured-one chronological and one by chapter-are included. This superb book is a perfect starting point for research on the artist and 20th-century sculpture.-Delia Fritz, Mercersburg Academy, PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.