Louise Bourgeois, dead at 98
The National Gallery in Ottawa owns one of those iconic works, "Maman," which has sat perched outside the main entrance since 2005 like some kind of sentinel in a B-grade sci-fi horror film (it's a perfect work in other ways, too, being remarkably weather-proof and immune to Ottawa valley winters).
Bourgeois was French but is recognized mostly as an American artist, given the fact she moved to New York in 1938 and didn't really achieve the widespread notoriety she died with until she was well into her 60s. Lost in her monumental works is a playful, idiosyncratic practice of object-making that could be delicate, bawdy and mildly ridiculous, as well as an experimental urge to try anything from performance to doodling.
Whatever else can be said about Bourgeois, she leaves behind an exuberantly eclectic body of work that reads like a diary of a life lived in the constant thrill of doing what she loved. We should all be so lucky.