Alexander Calder: From Model to Monument
February 3, 2006 — March 4, 2006
PW 22nd St
ORIGINS OF ALEXANDER CALDER’S LARGE-SCALE SCULPTURE EXPLORED IN NEW
NEW YORK, January 30, 2006—PaceWildenstein, in collaboration with the Calder Foundation, is pleased to announce that Alexander Calder: From Model to Monument, an exhibition investigating the development of the artist's large-scale monuments and commissions over three decades will be on view at 545 West 22nd Street, New York from February 3 through March 4, 2006. The public is invited to attend an opening this week on Thursday, February 2nd from 6 to 8 p.m.
EXHIBITION AT PACEWILDENSTEIN
Alexander Calder: From Model to Monument consists of over 30 stabiles from 1956 to 1976. The majority of these rarely exhibited works are the unpainted maquettes that Calder used to develop all of his large-scale work.
Also on view will be three intermediate maquettes from 1967, including Trois Pics for the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble; Gwenfritz, for the Smithsonian Institution Museum of History and Technology; and Monsieur Loyal also sited in Grenoble, and commissioned for Lycée Jean Bart. Although the commissions are unrelated, the works are not—each one experimented with planes that cut or pierced each other.
The Calder Family has also loaned the 1:3 model of Jerusalem Stabile (1976), one of the artist’s last works. This 24' long sculpture will be exhibited with both a highly detailed engineering maquette and the original, unpainted model.
After receiving a degree in mechanical engineering from the Stevens Institute, Hoboken, New Jersey in 1919, Alexander Calder (1898–1976) worked as an automotive engineer and as a draftsman at the New York Edison Company. In the summer of 1921 he worked for a hydraulics engineer in Connecticut and shortly thereafter he did fieldwork in Ohio. These experiences, combined with his family’s artistic history—his father and grandfather were prominent academic sculptors in Philadelphia, the latter made the statue of William Penn which still sits atop City Hall—exposed him to traditional enlargement techniques and their connection to public art.
In 1960, the artist remarked, “There’s been an agrandissement in my work. It’s true I more or less retired from smaller mobiles. I regard them as sort of fiddling. The engineering on the big objects is important; they are mostly designed for a particular spot, and they have to fit properly or support themselves properly…”
In his catalogue essay, Marc Glimcher notes, “Calder’s invention of the stabile set the stage for a major revolution. The nature of his compositions along with the materials and construction allowed the idea of abstraction to expand beyond the gallery, the studio or the museum and spill out onto city streets…This unprecedented accomplishment simultaneously restored the place of monumental, public art and claimed it for abstraction. Scores of artists in the following generations have taken up the challenge of monumental abstraction, and in doing so have generated many of the ground-breaking developments seen in the last forty years of contemporary sculpture.”
Alexander Calder: From Model to Monument is one in a series of gallery exhibitions focusing on a particular invention or revelation within the artist's work. Previous shows included Calder '76: Cutouts (2002); Earthly Forms: The Biomorphic Sculpture of Arp, Calder, Noguchi (2000); Alexander Calder: The 50’s (1996); Alexander Calder: Stabiles (1989); Alexander Calder: Bronzes (1987); and Calder’s Calders (1985).