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Mark Joshua Epstein: We are looking at the artwork Quarantania by the artist Louise Bourgeois. What are your questions about this artwork?

Student 1: Well I don’t even know what it is. They’re all kind of the same shape, but they’re different.

Student 2: It reminds me of tall buildings, maybe skyscrapers.

Student 3: It reminds me of writing utensils, and maybe they also chose to simplify writing utensils and make it a sculpture.

Mark Joshua Epstein: Just to give you some information about the artist and the artworkLouise Bourgeois was born in France, and this sculpture was made in 1941, which is three years after she emigrated to New York, so she had moved here three years earlier with her husband. She had adopted a child in 1939 back in France and then had two children in quick succession. I'm wondering now as you look at the sculpture if you see anything that could represent a family.

Student 1: I kind of see that it's like a bunch of simplified people, kind of. I see in the middle one in front there are two little holes which kind of look like eyes.

Student 2: I can see in some of the pieces there are circles inside, and maybe that's representing people's faces.

Mark Joshua Epstein: Louise Bourgeois's family in France had a business where they would restore carpets and tapestries, so they would fix them when they got broken. So she has spoken before about these being needles, sewing needles. Does anybody see that in the piece?

Student 1: Now I do, because the holes may represent the eye of the needle, but then she made it into a person.


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