Freud’s Daughter and The Destruction of the Father

A few days ago, a friend of mine shared this article on the current exhibition ‘Louise Bourgeois: Freud’s Daughter’ at the Jewish Museum in New York.

I’ve admired Bourgeois’s work for some time and I’m particularly interested in the connection between her artistic practice and her personal history (so much so that I wrote about her in my honours paper), but I didn’t realise quite what an important role psychoanalysis played in her life and work. I’ve become increasingly interested in psychoanalysis in the last few years, particularly through my PhD research, so this was a very welcome discovery.

The article suggests that Bourgeois had a complicated relationship with psychoanalysis. When I sent the article to my uncle, a retired psychoanalyst living in England, he remarked that perhaps, in light of Bourgeois’s troubled relationship with her father, some of her more critical comments about Freud could be seen as examples of transference and not necessarily literal. Indeed, as Bourgeois is quoted in the article, “I never talk literally. Never, never, never.”

The Destruction of the Father by Louise Bourgeois.

After reading the article I went to the website of the Jewish Museum and discovered that they have some additional resources about the exhibition available. I particularly enjoyed this video of the James L. Weinberg Distinguished Lecture, ‘The benefit of art according to Louise Bourgeois: “Art is a guaranty of sanity”’ by Donald Kuspit:

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