Maman – (Art on Sunday #1)

The 30 foot tall spider, "Maman" (1999), is a bronze, stainless steel, and marble sculpture by the artist Louise Bourgeois, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, August 1, 2015, Bentonville, Arkansas

“Maman” (1999),  is a bronze, stainless steel, and marble sculpture by the artist Louise Bourgeois. One of an edition of six sculptures created from the original has found a home at the entrance to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, August 1, 2015, Bentonville, Arkansas.

The sculpture, which depicts a spider, is among the world’s largest, measuring over 30 ft high and over 33 ft wide (927 x 891 x 1024 cm). It includes a sac containing 26 marble eggs and its abdomen and thorax are made of ribbed bronze. The title is the familiar French word for Mother. The sculpture was created in 1999 by Bourgeois as a part of her inaugural commission of The Unilever Series (2000), in the Turbine Hall at London’s Tate Modern. This original was created in steel, with an edition of six subsequent castings in bronze.  Wikipedia

The original is at Tate Modern in the UK.  Four of the five other castings are in the collections of

Some of the editions in permanent collections often tour on exhibit.

The 30 foot tall spider, "Maman" (1999), is a bronze, stainless steel, and marble sculpture by the artist Louise Bourgeois, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, August 1, 2015, Bentonville, Arkansas

Crystal Bridges’s acquisition of a bronze cast of the sculpture fulfills the artist’s wish that it be owned or exhibited by a U.S. institution. (Architectural Digest)

The 30 foot tall spider, "Maman" (1999), is a bronze, stainless steel, and marble sculpture by the artist Louise Bourgeois, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, August 1, 2015, Bentonville, Arkansas

Nabholz Corporation:

Recently, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art acquired Louise Bourgeois’s “Maman” a large, bronze spider sculpture, measuring 30 ft. 5 in. x 33 ft. 7 in. For Bourgeois, the spider alludes to the strength of her mother, with connections to spinning, weaving, nurture, and protection. For Nabholz, it meant combining forces to get one giant spider (and priceless piece of artwork) in place!

Our construction, industrial, and equipment teams combined to tackle the challenging job. The schedule was tight; the museum closes only one day a week and they needed the exhibit installed in two weeks. The scope of work included demolishing existing concrete in the courtyard, pouring new concrete and placing footings for the sculpture, transporting the deconstructed spider into the courtyard by crane, assembling the spider, and pouring new concrete to complete the finished look. Different crews coordinated an around-the-clock work schedule that allowed Nabholz to finish on schedule while the museum operated as usual.

“Maman” has found a permanent home at Crystal Bridges, and is sure to delight and surprise the thousands of patrons who visit Crystal Bridges every month!


Note: all of the still images are mine.  Because of the size of the sculpture and the size of the courtyard, there was no way to get all of “Maman” in one photo at ground level; thus, the top and bottom images are a composite of 3 or more photos stitched together.

arkansas, art, art on sunday, critters, museum, now that's cool!, photography, sculpture

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  • nick Oct 25, 2015

    It’s a fabulous sculpture. I saw the one in the Tate Modern, along with a lot of her other work which is on show there. I also saw a big exhibition of her work at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. She was very talented.
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    • Mike Oct 25, 2015

      It is absolutely amazing. I’m wasn’t familiar with her or her works until I started working on this post.
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