The Nest
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The Nest by the late Louise Bourgeois describes the endearing side of the regular cast-members of my nightmares.

OK - so I’m a bit biased when it comes to the relationship I have with spiders, but Louise Bourgeois on the other hand (or pedipalp in this case), regularly incorporated them into her later work with The Nest being one of the earliest containing these eight-legged oddities. Surprisingly, these arachnid archetypes for evil were used to describe the endearing aspects of Bourgeois’ mother.

Though difficult to imagine at first, the picture becomes clearer when taking into account Bourgeois’ family life was less Brady Bunch and far more Jackson Five. While her still married father was Netflix-and-chilling with the inhabitants of Paris and having a starring role in the emotional abuse the artist suffered during her childhood, her mother, Josephine, became her self-described best friend until Josephine’s untimely death when Bourgeois was twenty-one. After two decades of witnessing her mother’s perseverance in the face of infidelity, Bourgeois felt the spider - a creature who she considered to be deliberate, patient, neat, and useful - coincided with the memories of her mother. The comparison is less surprising considering Josephine was a professional weaver and restored tapestries (I see what you did there, Louise).

It goes without saying that any person who regularly created thirty-foot spiders might carry a little emotional baggage. The trauma endured by the artist followed her throughout her life, and became the prevailing inspiration for most - if not all - of her work. Her fixation with the relationship between her childhood and the work she produced led to a commitment to psychoanalysis between 1958 and 1982 as she desired the introspection she felt it delivered. When her thirty-years of psychoanalytic writings were discovered, it led to psychoanalysts to view her work as a classic example of Freudian psychology and was exhibited within the Freud Museum of London.

Fortunately for me and the rest of humanity, these steel spiders are not going anywhere, but can be mighty expensive for any prospective haunted house looking to buy. Prices for these eight legged sculptures range from $1.7 million to a whopping $28 million. Turns out childhood trauma and spiders can be a pretty profitable venture.



  1. Deberry, Linda. “Mother of Spiders: Louise Bourgeois.” Crystal Bridges. July 30, 2015.
  2. Ferrier, Morwenna. “Louise Bourgeois – the reluctant hero of feminist art.” The Guardian. March 14, 2016.
  3. McCrae, Trisha. “Louise Bourgeois. Maman: From the Outside In.” art&education. Accessed April 18 2017.
  4. Turner, Christopher. “Analysing Louise Bourgeois: art, therapy and Freud.” The Guardian. April 6, 2012.
  5. “Artwork Guide: Louise Bourgeois.” SFMOMA. Accessed April 18, 2017.
  6. “Louise Bourgeois.” Christie’s. Accessed April 18, 2017.