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Louise Bourgeois
Cheim & Read
547 West 25th Street
Through November 13
If the mastermind of psychoanalysis could never have imagined the likes of Dr. Phil, or the legions of troubled souls who visit their shrinks each week, he surely would have found the work of Louise Bourgeois a great shock. For 60 years, this artist has turned Tolstoy's famous Anna Karenina quote, "All happy families resemble each other, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way," into a visual mantra, reveling in the mysteries of the neurotic self. Centered around six doll-sized sculptures set on a pedestal stage, and collectively titled "The Reticent Child," her current exhibition reveals why. Originally commissioned for the Freud Museum in Vienna, these figures hide in the back gallery, each exposing some sort of pain—grief, fear, weakness, even consternation. Like the abstract drawings Bourgeois creates in response to them—with their wobbly yet expressive lines—the figures somehow convey strength in their vulnerability. Their materials, alternating pink fabric and tangerine marble, suggest the same dichotomy. But hard or soft, sure or uncertain, it all seems cathartic to Bourgeois.
 
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