Objects of desire

Louise Bourgeois and Misaki Kawai at the ICA, Robert Parker at BU, and Eric Gordon at Art Interactive
By RANDI HOPKINS  |  March 13, 2007

Louise Bourgeois, Cell (Hands and Mirror)
It’s hard to avoid thinking about Freud when contemplating the richly symbolic, highly sexual sculpture and drawing of Louise Bourgeois, who was born in 1911 in Paris and still creates a stir with her emotionally charged work, which is often drawn from childhood memories. But this is Freudian theory as seen through iconoclastic eyes. Using wood and rubber, thread and needle, Bourgeois interprets the power and vulnerability of the body by conjuring and then facing down complex images from our dreams and nightmares.

First trained as an engraver and a painter, Bourgeois turned to sculpture in the 1940s, breaking artistic ground through her exploration of her own consciousness. In recent years, works like her towering bronze spiders (the largest titled Maman, French for “mom”) and exquisitely carved marble hands set in a series of sculptural installations known as “cells” have investigated the human figure and psyche. Opening at the Institute of Contemporary Art March 28, “Bourgeois in Boston” presents sculptures, prints, and drawings, all drawn from public and private Boston-area collections.

Also opening at the ICA March 28, “Momentum 7: Misaki Kawai,” features new work by a Japanese artist known for her quirky installations crafted out of low-tech materials including papier-mâché and fabric. Kawai’s first solo show, a 2002 installation at Kenny Schachter Contemporary in New York, which included a fleet of planes made from old blankets and clothing that appeared to carry the Beatles and Casper the Friendly Ghost, was called a “tour-de-force debut” by New York Times art critic Roberta Smith.

Distinguished crime novelist Robert B. Parker is loved in Boston as the author of the “Spenser” series, the basis for the TV series Spenser: For Hire, which was filmed here in the late 1980s. Parker, who lectured in English at BU in the early 1960s and was a professor at Northeastern until the late 1970s, will speak on his life, his work, and his brand new book, High Profile, at BU’s Metcalf Hall on March 27; festivities start at 5:30 pm, and tickets are $25 for the general public. The lecture coincides with an exhibition of Parker’s papers that’ll include drafts of book manuscripts, early proofs, and other unique documents on long-term view at BU’s Mugar Memorial Library starting March 28.

“Upgrade! Boston” is a series of informal free monthly gatherings of artists, curators, and the public aimed at fostering dialogue about new media. Each meeting includes a talk or presentation. At 7 pm on March 22, at Art Interactive, artist Eric Gordon will speak on “Private Spaces in Public Space.”

“Bourgeois in Boston” and “Momentum 7: Misaki Kawai” at Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave, Boston | March 28–March 2 (Bourgeois) & March 28–July 8 (Kawai) | 617.478.3100 | “Robert Parker Archive Exhibition” at BU’s Mugar Memorial Library, 771 Comm Ave, Boston | opens to public on March 28; opening reception and talk at 775 Comm Ave, Boston, March 27 at 5:30 pm [$25] | 617.353.3697 | “Upgrade! Boston: Eric Gordon” at Art Interactive, 130 Bishop Allen Drive, Cambridge | March 22 at 7 pm | 617.498.0100

On the Web
Institute of Contemporary Art: www.icaboston.org
Mugar Memorial Library: www.bu.edu/archives
Art Interactive: www.artinteractive.org

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