stack2 Louis Bourgeois is a feminist art icon, even if she -- in some mythical afterlife populated by giant spiders and contorted, alien figures -- would hate the label. When she was alive, she was aloof on the subject. "Some of my works are, or try to be feminist, and others are not feminist," she proclaimed in an interview with the San Francisco Museum of Art.
Bourgeois does owe a lot to the feminist movement. Born in Paris in 1911, she spent many of her early years known merely as the wife of Robert Goldwater, the American art historian with whom she moved to New York in the late 1930s. Though she drew, painted, sculpted and printed throughout the 1940s and '50s, Bourgeois didn't receive real art world attention until her 50s.