Allen, James E.
11 x 8 1/2 inches
Wichita Art Museum, Museum purchase, Director's Discretionary Fund
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.