Louise Bourgeois. Quarantania, I. 1947-53; reassembled by the artist 1981 45

Painted wood on wood base, 6' 9 1/4" (206.4 cm) high, including base 6 x 27 1/4 x 27" (15.2 x 69.1 x 68.6 cm). Gift of Ruth Stephan Franklin. © The Easton Foundation/VAGA at ARS, NY

Narrator: What do these shapes remind you of?

Kid voice 1: String beans?

Kid voice 2: Surfboards?

Kid voice 1: Or aliens!

Narrator: Well to artist Louise Bourgeois, they were people—in fact, they represented her friends and family. In what ways do they seem like people?

Kid voice 1: They’re about the right size.

Kid voice 2: They’re standing up.

Narrator: Louise Bourgeois, grew up in France, and she moved a long way to come live in the United States. She felt homesick, so she started making sculptures like these to feel less lonely. She’d move them around, and put them together in different groups. In this work of art, she even included herself—she’s the one right in the middle, and those smaller oval shapes she’s carrying are her three little boys. If the figures could talk, what do you think they might be saying?

Find the people you came with and take a photo together. What story does your photo tell?

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