CHAMPAIGN, Ill. This country's most comprehensive museum exhibition of early works by Louise Bourgeois is among four new shows opening at the University of Illinois' Krannert Art Museum in the coming weeks.
"Louise Bourgeois: The Early Work," featuring art produced by Bourgeois during the 1940s and 1950s, opens April 26 and runs through Aug. 4. The carefully selected collection includes 25 sculptures, referred to as "Personages"; 17 paintings, 30 early drawings; and a set of prints titled "He Disappeared Into Complete Silence." Most of the works are drawn from the artist's personal collection and from private collections in the United States. Some have never before been shown publicly.
Bourgeois, who is internationally regarded as one of the most important 20th century American artists, spent more than half her career in relative obscurity. She produced her first mature, highly original works after moving to New York City in the 1940s. She participated in group exhibitions with such Abstract Expressionists as Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell and Jackson Pollock, and was associated with many avant-garde New York artists, as well as exiled European Surrealists and Dadaists.
Among the few living representatives of that New York generation, Bourgeois is still an active participant in the international art scene. She continues to produce new works, which are distinguished by their psychological and symbolic references.
Events planned in association with the exhibition include:
May 1, 5:30 p.m., KAM auditorium, "In the Realm of the Mind's Eye: The Spirit of Play and the Inner Life of Artists," a talk by Kay Larson, an art critic who writes for the New York Times and New York magazine.
May 2, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., "Louise Bourgeois Colloquium," East Gallery, planned in conjunction with the UI Women's Studies Program's "Women and Creativity" series.
May 8, 5:30 p.m., "Material, Obsession, Memory: The Work of Louise Bourgeois," KAM auditorium, a talk by museum director Josef Helfenstein.
Other exhibitions and related events scheduled at the museum, beginning in May, include:
"Living in a Material World: Art of the '80s," an exhibition chronicling the excesses of the art world, on view May 10 through Aug. 4. The exhibition features works by artists, represented in the museum's permanent collection, who participated in the booming art economy of the 1980s.
The show explores the "materiality" of art production on a variety of levels.
"Featured Works IX: Calligraphy Between Two Cultures," an exhibition running May 17-Aug. 4 that explores relationships between calligraphy and gesture in works by Chinese artists Wang Dongling and American artist Robert Motherwell.
Anne Burkus-Chasson, the show's guest curator, will discuss those relationships at the May 22 Midweek ArtSpeak talk, at noon in the museums Light Court Gallery.
Contemporary Glass: Selections from the Permanent Collection, May 31 through Oct. 27.
The Krannert Art Museum is located on the UI campus at 500 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign, one block east of Memorial Stadium. The museum is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; until 8 p.m. on Wednesday; and from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday. A donation of $3 is suggested.