Two visitors viewing a wall full of framed, individually sewn artworks by artist Louise Bourgeois

2019 | Louise Bourgeois: Ode to Forgetting

From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation

EXHIBITION: May 21 – August 10, 2019
Bruce/Floyd Gallery, Borth Gallery, Smith Gallery

ABOUT | The exhibition Louise Bourgeois: Ode to Forgetting focuses on prints and textile works the artist made in her 80s and 90s. Many of the works incorporate fabrics and embroidery, reflecting a lifelong interest in textiles connected to Bourgeois’ childhood years in her family’s business of tapestry restoration. Explorations of time and memory were of importance throughout her life and career, and are especially palpable in these late works.

Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) is one of the most renowned artists of the 20th century. For more than ninety years, Bourgeois made drawings daily, beginning in childhood and continuing until her death at age 98. She made art because she had to, and described her practice as a means of survival, a lifelong managing of vulnerabilities, traumas and nightmares. As she put it directly, “Art is a guarantee of sanity.”

Bourgeois’ artistic career spanned more than seventy years, although she practiced in relative obscurity until the 1970s. Through these decades she continually transformed personal experience and dream imagery into a visual language distinctly her own. Bourgeois is perhaps best known for powerful sculptures, including monumental spiders, human figures, and anthropomorphic shapes, but she made drawings daily, and returned regularly to printmaking.

BIOGRAPHY | Louise Bourgeois was born in Paris, France in 1911. Initially studying advanced mathematics at Sorbonne University, Bourgeois later studied art at the Ecole du Louvre. In 1938, she moved to New York where she would live and work until her death in 2010. Her approach to dream imagery is widely influential on generations of artists, but she created in relative obscurity until the 1970s. She exhibited with Abstract Expressionists and her art has much in common with Surrealism and Feminist art, Bourgeois is independent of any movement. In addition to traditional materials, Bourgeois explored her emotions and memories through a wide range of forms and materials, from latex, rubber, cloth, steel, found objects, with printmaking being an integral medium in her artistic practice along with sculpture.

In 1982, at 70 years old, Bourgeois was accorded her first retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art. On the occasion of Bourgeois’ 90th birthday, an exhibition of her work was held in 2001 at the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg in Russia. In 2008, a full-career retrospective premiered at the Tate Modern, London, and toured to Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC. In 2018, the Museum of Modern Art premiered Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait exploring the prints, books, and creative process of this celebrated artist.

About the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation | At age 14, Jordan D. Schnitzer bought his first work of art from his mother’s Portland, Oregon contemporary art gallery, evolving into a lifelong avocation as collector. He began collecting contemporary prints and multiples in earnest in 1988. Today, the collection exceeds 13,000 works and includes many of today’s most important contemporary artists. It has grown to be one of the country’s largest private print collections. He generously lends work from his collection to qualified institutions. The Foundation has organized over 110 exhibitions and has had art exhibited at over 150 museums. Mr. Schnitzer is also President of Harsch Investment Properties, a privately owned real estate investment company based in Portland, Oregon, owning and managing office, multi-tenant industrial, multi-family and retail properties in six western states. For more information about the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, please visit

Funding has been provided by Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation and the Members of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU.

All images for this exhibition are copyright: © The Easton Foundation/VAGA at ARS, NY

LOCATION | The  Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU is located in the Crimson Cube (on Wilson Road across from Martin Stadium and the CUB) on the WSU Pullman campus. The hours of our six galleries are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., closed Sunday and Monday. For more information please contact the museum at 509-335-1910.