Louise Bourgeois created the first of her darkly compelling spider sculptures in the mid-1990s, when she was in her eighties. The artist saw spiders as both fierce and fragile, capable of being protectors as well as predators. For Bourgeois, the spider embodied an intricate and sometimes contradictory mix of psychological and biographical allusions. Partly a reference to her mother, partly to herself, spiders for her represented cleverness, industriousness, and protectiveness. Filling the museum’s sculpture gallery on Floor 5, Louise Bourgeois Spiders explores the captivating complexity of the artist’s conception of these elegant and fearsome creatures, with works sculpted in a range of materials and scales, from the intimate to the monumental.
Header image: Louise Bourgeois Spiders (installation view, SFMOMA), 2017; photo: Katherine Du Tiel