In what has to be one of the most amazing and absurd bids for publicity in the history of the art market, Christie’s announced today that the actor Craig Henningsen, who plays Spider-Man in the hit Broadway show Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, “will help unveil the monumental Spider sculpture by world-famous artist Louise Bourgeois” at the auction house’s Rockefeller Center headquarters at noon. The work will be sold next week at the house’s contemporary art evening sale.
It is quite a curatorial pairing, combining a comic book hero with a work informed by the artist’s troubled childhood and close relationship with her mother. “The spiders were an ode to my mother,” Bourgeois told The Guardian of the works in 2007. “She was a tapestry woman, and like a spider, was a weaver. She protected me and was my best friend.”
In another interview, with Ingrid Sischy, the artist said, “The spider is an animal who eats mosquitoes. That’s why I love the spider … It is a feminine hero.” Spider-Man, of course, is a masculine hero, so that is sort of an elegant pairing.
Bourgeois added later in that interview, about her mother: “She could also defend herself, and me, by refusing to answer stupid, inquisitive, embarrassing, personal questions.”
The work is expected to sell for $4 to 6 million.
“I don’t think anyone involved with Louise knew anything about this,” said Bourgeois’ longtime assistant Jerry Gorovoy, when told of the photo op.