Louise Bourgeois would have turned 100 this past Christmas, yet somehow it felt like her career was still getting started upon her death in May 2010. A fairly private sculptor and artist until her reputation gathered momentum in the late 1960s, Bourgeois created large-scale spider sculptures and "femme maison" drawings that have become iconic works. The documentary film Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine details her father's infidelity with her governess, her mother's tolerance and strength, and how she drew upon her family's antique and tapestry repair business for much of her sculpting's imagery and form. Bourgeois was also a pioneer of installation art and a crucial gender studies figure, facets that mainstream art historians still ignore by placing her in a Freudian, confessional pigeonhole.
This film presentation is part of the Nasher's "Countdown to Calder" film series about sculptors, which also covers Maya Lin and Matthew Barney on subsequent Thursday nights as the museum ramps up to the Feb. 16 opening of Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy, an ambitious show that will occupy two of the three main exhibition areas of the Nasher into June. Admission to the 7 p.m. screening is free .—Chris Vitiello