Long time readers of Lines and Colors will know that, with a few exceptions, I’m not particularly fond of modernism — especially post-war American modernism.
Sculptor Alexander calder is certainly one of the exceptions. I’ve loved his work since I was introduced to it when I was in high-school, where we were encouraged to make our own “mobiles” in art class. This was reinforced by the fact that Calder and his family of sculptors (father and grandfather) were from here in Philadelphia, and there are examples all around, including the wonderful large mobile called Ghost in the great staircase hall of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Calder created his sculptures with wire and wonderful flat metal shapes that looked like the inspiration for the best 60’s modern design and the related styles of animation. And Calder’s sculptures are animated! They move, suspended from wires or balanced on pedestals, with an uncanny slow-motion dance of balance and grace, driven by the most subtle disturbances in the air around them.
Most sculptures are about form and space, and how one defines the other (see my post on Bernini). Calder’s sculptures were also about air and time and gravity.
Calder and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde to Iconic is a show now on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that continues to July 27, 2014.
For more, including a discussion of why I find Calder so fascinating, see my 2006 article on Alexander Calder.