Monday, September 29, 2008

Cranked Fish

Goldfish Bowl, 1929
Alexander Calder
Private Collection

As a child, Calder mobiles were some of my favorite works of art. I loved to just stand under them in galleries, waiting for a breeze to make them move (I think I even blew at them, but from a child's height it doesn't do much good). No wonder, considering their movement, and affinity with toys. I am happy that not only have I discovered a whole world of Calder I was unfamiliar with at the Whitney Museum of American Art a few years ago when I saw Calder's circus, but a new exhibition catalog at work has introduced me to where much of the wonderful came from.

Goldfish Bowl
was Calder's first mechanized wire sculptures Calder made when he was in Paris (1926-1933). It is crank-driven and when cranked, the fish "swim"! ("Alexander Calder: 1898-1976, NGA press release 1998) These wire sculptures were his form of expressive drawing in space, which we can see by the fluid yet marked connections made by the wire.

The catalog was produced to accompany the exhibitions "Alexander Calder: The Paris Years 1926-1933" which opens at the Whitney October 16 and at the Centre Pompidou sometime next spring, so you must check it out if you luckily live in NYC (been experiencing some withdrawal syptoms this week) or Paris! The Whitney has Calder's circus up on permanent display (and play the film of Calder performing the circus) so next time you are in the city or just on the upper east side, stop by. Here is a taste... and notice in my blogroll, a new artistquote of the day...

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