BLOG

Alexander Calder: From the Stony River to the Sky opens at Hauser & Wirth Somerset

Alexander Calder: From the Stony River to the Sky opens today at Hauser & Wirth Somerset! The major solo exhibition takes its inspiration from the artist’s long-time home and studio in Connecticut. Calder Foundation President Alexander S. C. Rower writes: “Roxbury had a direct impact on my grandfather’s work. He owned 18 acres and was inspired to bring sculpting outdoors for the first time. My grandparents thrived in the fresh air and lived close to the land. They also found relief from the rising fascism in Europe, and before long, they were directly assisting their artist friends to escape to the United States and to rural Connecticut in particular. In this way, they rebuilt their rich bohemian community that was a constant facet of their life, thereby making Roxbury home.”

On Friday, 22 June, Rower will be at Hauser & Wirth to speak on the subject of Calder and Roxbury. You can find more information here.

Moon Dancers: Yup’ik Masks and the Surrealists on view at Di Donna, New York

We are pleased to announce that Moon Dancers: Yup’ik Masks and the Surrealists is now on view at Di Donna Galleries, New York. The exhibition, which runs through 29 June, celebrates the fertile creative intersection between 19th and early 20th century Yup’ik masks from the central Alaskan coast and the Surrealists’ indefatigable quest for spiritual and artistic connections with premodern societies all over the world. Two of the works in the show are loans from the Calder Foundation: a 1945 oil painting by the artist that is being exhibited for the first time and a 1943 André Masson painting that was in Calder’s collection.

Reds opens at Mnuchin Gallery

We are pleased to announce the opening of Reds, an exhibition at Mnuchin Gallery, New York, that examines artists’ use of red from the postwar period to the present. In an unpublished manuscript from 1943, titled “À Propos of Measuring a Mobile,” Calder wrote: “To me the most important thing in composition is disparity. Thus black and white are the strong colors, with a spot of red to mark the other corner of a triangle which is by no means equilateral, isosceles, or right … Anything suggestive of symmetry is decidedly undesirable, except possibly where an approximate symmetry is used in a detail to enhance the inequality with the general scheme.” The show will run through 9 June.

 

Calder: From the Stony River to the Sky at Hauser & Wirth Somerset

We are excited to announce Calder: From the Stony River to the Sky, a major solo exhibition of Calder’s work opening on 26 May at Hauser & Wirth Somerset. The show takes its name from the etymology of the surname Calder in Celtic—meaning "from the stony river"—and its inspiration from Calder’s long-time home and studio in Roxbury, Connecticut. After purchasing the dilapidated farmhouse in 1933, Calder and Louisa adapted it to fit their growing family, and Calder built three studios over the years to accommodate his burgeoning ambitions as an artist. The exhibition will feature over 80 pieces, including large-scale outdoor works set within the gardens at Durslade Farm.

Watch the Calder: The Conquest of Time Lectures

Over the past several months, Jed Perl has been touring the country to lecture on Calder: The Conquest of Time: The Early Years: 1898–1940, the first biography of the artist. On several occasions, Alexander S. C. Rower, president of the Foundation and the artist’s grandson, joined him to discuss the project. In case you weren’t able to attend any of the events, you can watch the lectures and conversations that took place at the Menil Collection, the National Gallery of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New York Public Library, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, and the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University on our YouTube channel.

The reviews of Calder: The Conquest of Time are in

In the wake of its publication this fall, Jed Perl’s Calder: The Conquest of Time: The Early Years: 1898–1940 has garnered a number of reviews:

“The things [Calder] made were in some ways abstract and ‘formal’ but never scanted the evocative function of art. Although a certain kind of politics can be discerned in his early work, his explicit politics were secondary to his acts of making: the fountain that he made for the Spanish Republican pavilion at the World’s Fair in 1937 stood in front of Picasso’s ‘Guernica,’ but no one could have detected in its beautiful patternings of mercury and water a polemical point. For Perl, considering the modern in what may seem 'anti-modernist’ terms, rescuing Calder is a way of rescuing the individual imagination from a reading of modern art too narrowly driven by a historical plot.” – Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker

“The earliest examples [of Calder’s abstractions] were the motorized, tabletop-scale pieces for which Duchamp invented the generic name: ‘mobiles.’ Then came the suspended works, their dangling elements set into motion by air currents or the touch of a hand. Even today, they feel truly far-out. With them, Perl suggests, Calder gave sculpture a dimension of movement in space, which was also movement in time, that it had rarely had before in Western art. And with this work, Calder, then in his mid-30s, made his defining contribution to Modernism.” – Holland Cotter in the New York Times

 “Time, form, motion and viewer together define the experience of his art. That implicit contract with the viewer has become so commonplace that we take it for granted, whether transfixed by a Calder mobile in the National Gallery or enjoying participatory performance art. Perl’s accomplishment here is to peel back almost a century of artistic expectations, extract Calder from his phenomenal success, and let us see the influences and experiments that led to it.” – Alexander C. Kafka in the Washington Post

Kinetics of Violence: Alexander Calder + Cady Noland opens at Venus Over Manhattan

We are thrilled to announce Kinetics of Violence: Alexander Calder + Cady Noland at Venus Over Manhattan, which opens today and runs through 22 December. Curated by Sandra Antelo-Suarez, the exhibition addresses the current political climate, both domestically and abroad, and enlists two artists whose works deeply engage issues of violence, often through sculptures that employ a literal or implied engagement with motion. On view in the gallery is a rigorously focused presentation of four sculptures by Calder and Noland, who are paired in a two-person exhibition for the first time.

Alexander Calder: Scaling Up opens at SFMOMA

Alexander Calder: Scaling Up is now open at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art! The second exhibition in the museum’s Calder gallery takes a close look at the small-scale and surprisingly tactile beginnings of the artist’s most sizable works, introducing visitors to the multi-step methods of enlargement that Calder developed to transform handmade models into monumental sculptures. Featuring indoor and outdoor artworks from the 1950s to the 1970s, the exhibition includes several loans from the Foundation’s collection.

Calder: The Conquest of Time Book Tour

Calder: The Conquest of Time: The Early Years: 1898–1940—the first biography of the artist—is now on shelves everywhere! Jed Perl, esteemed art critic and author of the book, has embarked on a nationwide book tour. Events will take place in Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, Boston, Grand Rapids, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City. Alexander S. C. Rower, president of the Calder Foundation and grandson of the artist, will join Perl at certain locations. Click here for more information.

Calder: The Conquest of Time on shelves 24 October 2017

Calder: The Conquest of Time: The Early Years: 1898–1940 by renowned art critic and author Jed Perl—the first biography of the artist—is nearly here. On shelves on 24 October, the book is based on years of scholarship and unprecedented access to the Calder Foundation archives.

The first volume of Perl’s two-volume biography, Calder: The Conquest of Time opens with Calder's wonderfully peripatetic upbringing in Philadelphia, California, and New York. Born in 1898 into a family of artists—his father was a well-known sculptor, his mother a painter and a pioneering feminist—Calder went on as an adult to forge important friendships with a who's who of twentieth-century creators, including Georges Braque, Marcel Duchamp, Martha Graham, Joan Miró, Piet Mondrian, and Virgil Thomson. We move through Calder's early years at the Art Students League in New York to his first artistic triumphs in Paris in the late 1920s with his Cirque Calder and his wire sculptures, and to his emergence as a leader in the international abstract avant-garde. His marriage in 1931 to the free-spirited Louisa James—she was a great-niece of Henry James—is a richly romantic story, related here with a wealth of detail and nuance. 

Calder's life takes on a transatlantic richness, moving from New York's Greenwich Village in the Roaring Twenties, to the Left Bank of Paris during the Depression, and then back to the United States, where the Calders bought a run-down old farmhouse in western Connecticut. This beautifully written book, based on nearly a decade of archival research and scores of interviews, is enriched by more than 350 illustrations in color and black-and-white, including little-known works and many photographs that have never before been seen.

A sampling of praise for the book:

“All artists are critics but very few critics are artists. Jed Perl is one of those few. He has the critical imagination to imagine Calder’s imagination, and the rare ability to engage that of the reader.” —Fran Lebowitz

“Calder’s magic brilliantly captivated by an astute biographer.” —John Richardson, author of A Life of Picasso

“Perl’s vibrant, driving prose distills a detailed, captivating and multigenerational history into a lucid and useful biography that miraculously eschews excess. He reveals how Calder’s magnetic personality and synthetic thinking determined a radical new course for twentieth-century art.” —Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director, ‪Whitney Museum of American Art 

Read an excerpt in Smithsonian Magazine.