09. June - 23. October 2017 Whitney Museum of American Art


Alexander Calder (1898-1976), Untitled, 1942. Wood, wire, glass, and string, 52 3/4 x 26 x 12 in. (134 x 66 x 30 cm). Calder Foundation, New York. © ARS, NY
Alexander Calder (1898–1976), The Helices, 1944. Bronze, 80 x 79.4 x 61 cm 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Alexander Calder (1898–1976), Aluminum Leaves, Red Post, 1941. Painted sheet metal, 154.3 x 103.5 x 108 cm. The Lipman Family Foundation; long-term loan © 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photograph by Brian Kelley

The Art of Movement

In the early 1930s, Alexander Calder (1898–1976) 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. In Calder's own words, "Just as one can compose colors, or forms, so one can compose motions."

"Calder: Hypermobility" that will be on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art from 9 June until 23 October 2017, focuses on the extraordinary breadth of motion achieved by Calder from the moment he turned to radical abstraction in 1930 and continuing throughout the subsequent decades of his career.

This exhibition brings together a rich constellation of key works, some of which will be activated regularly in the gallery to more fully elucidate their inherent motion and their relationship to performance as well as the theatrical stage.

In addition to the gallery display, a central component of the exhibition is an expansive series of performances and events, including a number of episodic, one-time demonstrations of additional rarely seen works overseen and led by the Calder Foundation, as well as concerts, screenings, and special programs.

New commissions will bring contemporary artists into dialogue with Calder as these artists interplay their own practices with Calder’s innovations, revealing the many ways in which his art continues to challenge and inform new generations.

In collaboration with the Calder Foundation, the Whitney’s exhibition will provide visitors with a rare opportunity to experience works as the artist intended — activated by motors or air currents and further animated by touch.

The selection of works draws inspiration from Calder’s notion of "disparity" – a term the artist used to describe the complex variation and disjuncture of forms, colours, densities, and movements within a single or across multiple objects. The exhibition intersperses works from different time periods, offering compelling juxtapositions of boldly contrasting yet thematically connected works.

"Calder: Hypermobility" encompasses major examples of Calder’s work, including his early motor-driven abstractions and wall panels with suspended active elements, as well as his sound-generating Gongs and standing and hanging mobiles and motorized sculptures among others.

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