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Archive for October, 2020

Bourgeois Spiders

So where were the spiders while the fly tried to break our balls? — Mike Pence David Bowie

Last summer I saw a collection of Louise Bourgeois’s spider sculptures in the gardens at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I’d seen them before, indoors at the MOMA in San Francisco, but I liked them even better when I saw them outdoors set against the formal brick building and gardens. And I appreciate them even more now after drawing them; they’re quite varied and each one looks different from every angle and the context around them can create a lot of interesting effects.

This one reminds me of a tree as much as a spider, as if Bourgeois or her fabricator had been snorkeling in a mangrove swamp.

But most of them have a strong metal spider vibe. H. R. Giger with a little bit of Tolkien thrown in, the Hobbit spiders rather than the scarier Lord of the Rings one.

Her largest and most famous spider is called ‘Maman’, which means ‘Mother’. I haven’t seen it in person, but I’m a sucker for these kinds of installation videos with cranes and cherry pickers and shots of the lug bolts holding it all together. I’ve seen other videos with her talking about the symbolism and ideation of it all, but I think underneath it all she just realized that big metal spiders would look cool. Very very cool.

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