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White marble on wooden base
Overall: 92.7 x 88.9 x 63.5 cm (36 1/2 x 35 x 25 in.)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2002.29
© The Easton Foundation / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Historians have made connections between the bulging, rounded forms in Blind Man's Buff and representations of Artemis of Ephesus, the goddess of fertility in Greek mythology, and the Venus of Willendorf, one of the earliest ancient art objects discovered.
Combinations of opposites distinguish the sculptures of Louise Bourgeois. In Blind Man’s Buff, the smooth, opaque surface of the marble contrasts with the rough, porous wood of its base. In addition, the ambiguous, bulbous forms appear both phallic and breast-like, attributes combining both genders. Humor is also a key component in her work, as seen in the title, a variation on “Blind Man’s Bluff,” a child’s game in which one blindfolded person must look for others using only sound and touch. The artist’s alteration of “bluff” to “buff” has a dual meaning. It refers to the method of smoothing, or “buffing” marble, which highlights the rich history of marble sculpture. Also, “in the buff” references the sculpture’s likeness to the nude human body, a factor reinforced by the fabric folds visible at the sculpture’s edges, as if clothing has been cast aside.
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