Best Art Exhibit

Louise Bourgeois's Spiders

The three-member staff of Cleveland Public Art saw Louise Bourgeois's spider sculptures last summer at New York's Rockefeller Plaza and decided, "We need those in Cleveland." Finding $120,000 for the project's rental, installation, and insurance fees was a serious challenge, though. But CPA pulled it off, with the help of Contessa Gallery, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and local businesses. The installation of the giant spiders was another challenge. After all, "Maman" alone is 30 feet tall and weighs 12 tons. Working on the ground, a local rigging crew assembled the midsections of her body and fastened a leg onto each side to balance the weight. The body and two legs were hoisted upright with a crane, and crew members (on a scissor lift) assembled the rest of her legs as the body dangled in mid-air. To secure "Maman"'s eight gigantic gams, masons removed bricks from Playhouse Square's Star Plaza to make room for steel footers, which were then reinforced with concrete. The smaller "Spiders" (about one ton each) were installed the next day. All are on view, for free, through September 30.