Calder and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde to Iconic
One of the most important artists of the twentieth century, Alexander Calder revolutionized modern sculpture. Calder and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde to Iconic, with significant cooperation from the Calder Foundation, explores the artist’s radical translation of French Surrealist vocabulary into American vernacular. His most iconic works, coined mobiles by Marcel Duchamp, are kinetic sculptures in which flat pieces of painted metal connected by wire move delicately in the air, propelled by motors or air currents. His later stabiles are monumental structures, whose arching forms and massive steel planes continue his engagement with dynamism and daring innovation. Although this will be his first museum exhibition in Los Angeles, Calder holds a significant place in LACMA’s history: the museum commissioned Three Quintains (Hello Girls) for its opening in 1965. The installation was designed by architect Frank O. Gehry.
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Calder and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde to Iconic was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in cooperation with the Calder Foundation, New York. Funding provided by LACMA's Art Museum Council and Phillips. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Image: Alexander Calder, Eucalyptus, 1940, sheet metal, wire, and paint, 94 1/2 x 61 inches, Calder Foundation, New York; Gift of Andréa Davidson, Shawn Davidson, Alexander S.C. Rower, & Holton Rower, 2010. © 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photo courtesy Calder Foundation, New York/Art Resource, NY.
Works of Calder
Works of Calder, 1950, directed and filmed by Herbert Matter, produced and narrated by Burgess Meredith, music by John Cage,16mm film, color, sound; Courtesy of the Calder Foundation, New York.
In the mid-1940s, the painter and filmmaker Hans Richter and sculptor Alexander Calder joined forces on a remarkable film, Dreams That Money Can Buy, which featured Calder’s famous Cirque Calder, a mirthful work of pure fantasy made up of delicate wire-frame miniature figures set into motion by Calder himself. This film, on view in the exhibition Hans Richter: Encounters, shows how fantasy and motion were two characteristics deeply shared by both artists. In his book, Encounters, Richter said of Calder: “The least he requires of sculptures is that they should move. And he has not been disappointed, nor have we. The earth, too, was not allowed to move until Copernicus and Galileo started it moving. . . . The twentieth century does not stand still, ‘it moves…