A five-decade survey of the career of groundbreaking artist Louise Bourgeois opens May 10 at Glenstone, a contemporary art museum situated in the rolling hills of Potomac, Md.
“Louise Bourgeois: To Unravel a Torment” will feature more than 30 works from the 20th-century feminist artist, including the museum’s newly acquired “The Destruction of the Father” (1974), her first installation. The exhibition showcases early wooden sculptures, drawings, prints, textile-based works and roomlike pieces the French-born Bourgeois called “Cells.”
The exhibition’s title comes from the artist’s diaries and highlights her art’s emotional content and its deep connection to her psyche, said Emily Rales, director and co-founder of the private museum with her husband, Mitch. “It could be more than anyone else, Louise Bourgeois is the quintessential autobiographical artist,” Rales said. “She took memories, experiences, and expressed them through her art.”
The exhibition, which draws from the Glenstone collection, will be on view as the museum opens its much-anticipated expansion, the Pavilions, on Oct. 4. Under construction since 2013, the expansion features a new entry, parking lots, two cafes, an arrival building, 50,000 square feet of additional indoor exhibition space and 130 acres of new landscaping.
Rales said the exhibition in the original museum space, to be called the Gallery, had to be powerful to hold attention during the opening of the expanded museum.
“I think Louise Bourgeois is a giant. She can very easily occupy that space and command attention,” Rales said. The exhibition will continue through January 2020.
Rales described Bourgeois (1911-2010) as a “radical figure” who reinvented herself repeatedly during her long life. She is a role model to many artists, she said.
“Many feminists who came of age in the ’70s and beyond, they look to Louise Bourgeois as a trailblazer,” Rales said.
Glenstone will be open Thursdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for the Bourgeois exhibition, starting May 10. Admission is free, and reservations may be scheduled now at glenstone.org/visit. Same-day visits may be scheduled, too.