New York City, NY
Calder: Hypermobility focuses on the extraordinary breadth of movement and sound in the work of Alexander Calder. This exhibition brings together a rich constellation of key sculptures and provides a rare opportunity to experience the works as the artist intended—in motion. Regular activations will occur in the galleries, revealing the inherent kinetic nature of Calder’s work, as well as its relationship to performance and the theatrical stage. Influenced in part by the artist’s fascination and engagement with choreography, Calder’s sculptures contain an embedded performativity that is reflected in their idiosyncratic motions and the perceptual responses they provoke.
In the early 1930s, Calder invented an entirely new mode of art, the mobile—a kinetic form of sculpture in which carefully balanced components manifest their own unique systems of movement. These works operate in highly sophisticated ways, ranging from gentle rotations to uncanny gestures, and at times, trigger unpredictable percussive sounds. Calder: Hypermobility encompasses major examples of Calder’s work including early motor-driven abstractions, sound-generating Gongs, and standing and hanging mobiles.
In collaboration with the Calder Foundation, the exhibition will feature an expansive series of performances and events, including a number of episodic, one-time demonstrations of rarely seen works, as well as new commissions, which will bring contemporary artists into dialogue with Calder’s innovations and illuminate the many ways in which his art continues to challenge and inform new generations.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether or not you go, Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture is an insightful new look at one of the 20th century’s most celebrated artistic visionaries. Calder (1898-1976) is one of modernism’s most captivating and influential figures. First trained as a mechanical engineer, Calder relocated from New York to Paris in the mid-twenties where his acceptance into the city’s burgeoning avant-garde circles coincided with the development of his characteristic form of kinetic sculpture. His early work Cirque Calder, which was presented throughout Paris to great acclaim, prefigures the performance and theatrical aspects that dominate Calder’s pioneering artistic works and are situated as a primary subject of intrigue in this publication.
Rather than simply refashion sculpture’s traditional forms, Calder envisioned entirely new possibilities for the medium and transformed its static nature into something dynamic and responsive.The publication provides detailed insight into that pioneering process through reproductions of personal drawings and notes. Also featured is new research from a wide range of renowned scholars, furthering our understanding of the remarkable depth of Calder’s beloved mobile sculptures and entrenching his status as an icon of modernism.