Monday, December 14, 2020

ALEXANDER CALDER SCULPTURES at SFMOMA, San Francisco, CA, by Caroline Arnold at The Intrepid Tourist

Fish Bowl by Alexander Calder at SFMOMA
Making a mobile is not only an exercise in creating visual balance, but actual physical balance of the various elements. The all-time master of the mobile is Alexander Calder and at the San Francisco Museum of Art (SFMOMA) there is a large room is dedicated to his work.
A year and a half ago I went to SFMOMA to see the spectacular retrospective exhibit Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again (now ended) and on my way I was sidetracked in the large room where works of Alexander Calder are displayed. I returned to see them again on a more recent visit in December 2019.
Mobiles by Alexander Calder

Large mobiles hang from the ceiling, their colorful flat shapes seeming to float in mid-air as the wires slowly rotated. Outside on the rooftop patio are a number of Calder’s large stabiles, lurking like large beasts enjoying the sun. But my favorite is a small piece–a wire fish bowl, complete with a snail and its spiral shell inching up the side of the bowl. It is like a 3-D drawing, using black wire instead of a pencil to define the shapes.
I once made a mobile in one of my art classes in college, using  found materials (tiny blocks of wood and other scraps I found at a construction site.) I discovered that it is not so easy to achieve the exact perfect balance when hanging the various wires! Which makes me admire the beauty and execution of Calder’s work even more.

Note: SFMOMA has been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Check out their website for information on when they will reopen as well as forvideos and articles from around the museum that will give you food for thought, a reason to smile, or a moment of connection.

All text and photos, copyright Caroline Arnold. 

Entrance to SFMOMA 

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