According to the artist, the spider is a feminist hero figure. Bourgeois created spider sculptures in honor of her mother who was, like a spider, deliberate, soothing, and patient.
With the sculpture being over eleven feet tall, the spider’s body floats overhead between the legs. When you examine the legs, you find many bumps and ridges along the smooth bronze that give them a natural look. No two legs are alike. The sculpture is positioned to look like the giant spider is walking towards the museum to attend to her baby, which was a separate sculpture that used to be attached to the facade of the building near the entrance. Perhaps, now, the mother is walking toward the building to find her baby.
This is one of Kansas City’s more iconic and striking sculptures due to its size, over eleven feet tall and eleven feet wide, and its subject matter. It is closely associated with the Kemper Museum, where it stands near the entrance to the museum, and it can be found on advertisements and banners for the museum.