Artwork Information

  • Title:

    Spider Boy

  • Artist:

    Allen, James E.

  • Artist Bio:

    American, 1894–1964

  • Date:


  • Medium:


  • Dimensions:

    11 x 8 1/2 inches

  • Credit Line:

    Wichita Art Museum, Museum purchase, Director's Discretionary Fund

  • Object Number:


  • Display:

    Not Currently on Display

About the Artwork

Sociologist and documentary photographer Lewis Hine famously said that “cities do not build themselves and machines cannot make machines, unless [at the] back of them are all the brains and toils of men.” In Spider Boy, James Allen showcases the daring, dangerous work needed to build a skyscraper. A construction worker—wearing protective gloves, a cap, and a bag over his shoulder—walks nonchalantly on a steal I-beam with the city’s rooftops stretched out hundreds of yards below him. The worker’s relaxed smile and loose posture speaks to his extraordinary comfort in a shockingly dangerous environment, reminding viewers of the remarkable workers needed to make remarkable structures.