The Cheim & Read gallery in Chelsea is currently presenting a rarely-seen collection of work by the late Louise Bourgeois in the exhibition Holograms.
Bourgeois, who died in 2010 at age 98, is recognized mostly for her sculptures and installations, and also for her paintings. In the late 1990s, she experimented with holograms, three-dimensional images formed by laser beams that capture light from an object with the image then burnt onto a piece of glass.
On display are eight small frames of chairs and bell jars and also a separate set of images of detached feet. What makes these works particularly amazing is the way they’re presented with the object jumping out at the viewer in three-dimensional form. The deep, saturated red light brings the image to life while adding an air of mystery with the red evoking a sense of the illumination of an old-fashioned darkroom.
A separate installation depicting two pairs of detached feet spread out on a small bed is also on view in the show and represents two pairs of lovers sharing a bed. As a large portion of Bourgeois’ work is autobiographical, the installation likely represents a time in her childhood when her father began an affair with her school teacher as her mother looked the other way.
Bourgeois’ inspiration for her work stemmed from her childhood growing up in France. The Bourgeois family earned their living by restoring and reselling seventeenth and eighteenth-century tapestries. Bourgeois often reflected on her early emotionally conflicted family life.
Louise Bourgeois was born in Paris in 1911 and lived in New York from 1938 until her death in 2010. She has earned myriad honors over the course of her career including being named Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French minister of culture in 1983. Other honors included the Grand Prix National de Sculpture from the French government in 1991. In 1993 she was chosen to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale.
In 1997, President Bill Clinton presented her with the National Medal of Arts. She also earned her first-lifetime achievement award from the International Sculpture Center in Washington D.C. Bourgeois’ work appears in important museum collections worldwide and has been the subject of several major traveling retrospectives.
At Cheim & Read, 547 W. 25th St., through Feb. 11. The gallery is open Tues.-Sat. from 10 a.m.—6 p.m.