Bruce Conner, Arachne, 1959, mixed media: nylon stockings, collage, cardboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Edith S. and Arthur J. Levin, 2005.5.12
Violence and decay appear to lurk beneath suffocating webs of nylon in Bruce Conner’s Arachne. This assemblage of found objects reflects the junk art and beat culture of Northern California in the 1950s. Conner’s use of throwaway objects as art materials contrasts with the sunny, consumerist ethos of pop art. Titled after a character from Greek mythology, Arachne hints at, rather than illustrates, the narrative of a proud girl who wove stories of the gods’ misbehavior into her cloth, boasting that she could outperform Athena, her teacher and goddess of spinners and weavers. Out of spite, Athena transformed Arachne into a spider, condemning her to weave webs in the darkness until the end of time."
- Smithsonian American Art Museum