Whimsical mobiles. Free-standing ‘stabiles.’ A surrealist painting come to life! I’ve always loved those kinetic sculptures—the pretty mobiles of elegantly suspended shapes on wires that defined Calder’s artistic style. But what I didn’t realize was that Calder was a contemporary of the Surrealists that dominated the pre-WWII Parisian art scene. While in Paris, Calder met and became friends with a number of avant-garde artists, including Joan Miró, Jean Arp and Marcel Duchamp. Apparently a visit to Piet Mondrian’s studio in 1930 had a major impact on him, and “shocked” him into embracing abstract art.
LACMA presents Calder and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde to Iconic, running until Sunday July 27, 2014. This is the first monographic presentation of Alexander Calder’s work in a Los Angeles museum. Taking as its compass the large-scale sculpture Three Quintains (Hello Girls), a site-specific fountain commissioned by LACMA’s Art Museum Council in 1964 for the opening of LACMA’s Hancock Park campus, Calder and Abstraction brings together a range of nearly fifty abstract sculptures, including mobiles, stabiles, and maquettes for larger outdoor works, that span more than four decades of the artist’s career. The exhibition at LACMA is organized by senior curator of modern art Stephanie Barron and designed by Gehry Partners, LLP.
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