Multiplex: Directions in Art, 1970 to Now (Kids)

Louise Bourgeois
(American, born France, 1911)
Articulated Lair

Louise Bourgeois. Articulated Lair. 1986

Painted steel, rubber, and metal, Dimensions variable, overall approximately 9' 3" x 21' 6" x 16' 1" (281.7 x 655.7 x 490.2 cm). Gift of Lily Auchincloss; and of the artist in honor of Deborah Wye (by exchange). © The Easton Foundation/VAGA at ARS, NY

Narrator: Come on in and sit down! But don’t touch the folding walls––or those black shapes hanging from them. And remind grownups not to touch too.

Artist Louise Bourgeois said that her childhood never lost its magic – and this child–sized stool surrounded by walls ispretty magical. She called this artwork a lair, or a place to hide. A lair can also be a hiding place for animals. Bourgeois made sure that her lair had two openings—so you could get out…if anything scary got in.


Animals can’t visit museums, of course.

Next to the small stool, those folding walls are really tall. Because they have hinges, they can move – kind of like an accordion. If they were stretched out the lair could be much bigger.

[Stretching music/sound]

But pushed together there’d be a lot less room.

[Compressing music]

There are spaces between the panels that let you peek out. On the other hand, someone could peek in too.

And what about those black rubbery things? Are they kind of like sausages hanging in a deli?

[Small burp]

Stuff stored in a hunter’s cave? There must be a million ways to think about them. They remind me of old balloons after a party.


What about you?

Bourgeois had mixed feelings about her lair. She called it “beautiful and peaceful” and also “terribly lonely.” But here she’s definitely inviting us in. The walls here are painted metal. Bourgeois also made other lairs out of wood and plaster. What would you use to make a hiding place of your own?

3 / 4