Titled Maman, the bronze, steel and marble arachnid will be the looming centrepiece of the Art Gallery of NSW’s major summer exhibition

Looming over the sandstone steps of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, a giant spider is redirecting foot traffic.

The giant spider, titled Maman, is one of the late French-American artist Louise Bourgeois’ most renowned – and most outsized – works, towering at almost 10m at its highest point and sprawling just as wide. When I visit on the final day of installation, it is cordoned off – though at regular intervals, visitors peer through the gaps to gawp at the spindly creation within. People take photos from various angles in an effort to bypass the fence; others, circumnavigating the sculpture, end up down back alleys trying to find their way back.

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