Crouching Spider, a gigantic sculpture of bronze and stainless steel made up of a globular body and long, attenuated legs, is part of a celebrated series of spider sculptures that Louise Bourgeois produced beginning in the early 1990s. According to the artist herself, the spider is a reference to Bourgeois's mother, who was a weaver and someone she described as being industrious and protecting. The artist also chose the spider for its role as a defender against other, more pernicious insects such as mosquitoes, which can carry deadly diseases.
Born in France in 1911, Bourgeois moved to New York in 1938 to pursue a career as an artist. Her sculpture and installations are marked by her singular use of not only bronze and marble, but also latex, wax, plaster, cement, and plastics. She is known for her biomorphic forms that frequently carry strong sexual implications. Her work, despite its pervasive autobiographical content, has universal appeal. An extraordinary work that is both threatening and playful, Crouching Spider reveals why Bourgeois is among the most provocative artists working today.
This project in Philadelphia has been funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts as part of its commitment to providing public art on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and to enhancing the boulevard more broadly.