Alexander Calder's invention of the mobile (a term that Marcel Duchamp coined to describe these new kinetic sculptures) resonated with early Conceptual and Constructivist art as well as the language of early abstract painting. Flat, abstract shapes made in steel, boldly painted in a restricted primary palette, black or white, hang in perfect balance from wires. While the latent energy and dynamism of the mobiles remained of primary interest to Calder throughout his life, he also created important standing sculptures, which Jean Arp named “stabiles” to distinguish them from their ethereal kinetic counterparts. These works reject the weight and solidity of sculptural mass, yet displace space in a three–dimensional manner while remaining linear, open, planar, and suggestive of motion.
Alexander Calder was born in 1898 in, Lawnton, Pennsylvania, and died in 1976 in New York. He received his B.S. in 1919 from Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken. From 1923 to 1925, Calder attended the Art Students League, New York, and in 1926, he attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris. Calder's public commissions are on view in cities all over the world and his work has been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions, including the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1998, traveled to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California); The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (1998–99); Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford (2000); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2000); Iwaki City Art Museum, Japan (2000, traveled to The Museum of Modern Art, Japan; Hokkaido Obihiro Museum of Art, Japan; The Museum of Art, Japan; Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum, Japan; Nagoya City Art Museum, Japan); Storm King Art Center, New York (2001–03); Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (2003, traveled to Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, through 2004); Foundation Beyeler, Switzerland (2004, traveled to Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., through 2005); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California (2013); Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2014); Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2014); Museo Jumex, Mexico City (2015); and Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Saint Louis (2015).
Extended through August 29, 2014
June 10–August 29, 2014
Davies Street, London
The Art History of Presidential Campaign Posters
Against the backdrop of the 2020 US presidential election, historian Hal Wert takes us through the artistic and political evolution of American campaign posters, from their origin in 1844 to the present. In an interview with Quarterly editor Gillian Jakab, Wert highlights an array of landmark posters and the artists who made them.
An Alphabetical Guide to Calder and Dance
Jed Perl takes a look at Alexander Calder’s lifelong fascination with dance and its relationship to his reimagining of sculpture.
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2020
The Summer 2020 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Joan Jonas’s Mirror Piece 1 (1969) on its cover.
The New World of Charlotte Perriand
Inspired by a visit to the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s exhibition Charlotte Perriand: Inventing a New World, William Middleton explores the life of this modernist pioneer and her impact on the worlds of design, art, and architecture.
Calder: Sculpting A Life
The first authorized biography of Alexander Calder was published this past fall. Biographer Jed Perl and Alexander “Sandy” S. C. Rower, president of the Calder Foundation, discuss the genesis of the book, the nature of genius, and preview what’s to come in the second volume with the Quarterly’s Wyatt Allgeier.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2018
The Spring 2018 Gagosian Quarterly with a cover by Ed Ruscha is now available for order.
Alexander Calder: Gouaches
While Alexander Calder is regarded as the originator of mobile art works, his works on paper exhibit a mastery of two-dimensional abstraction. With a show of his gouaches closing in the Davies Street, London gallery, Derek Blasberg celebrates some of the artist’s pieces that didn’t require a welding helmet.
Flying Dragon, 1975
October 19, 2021–January 2, 2022
Place Vendôme, Paris
Alexander Calder’s monumental sculpture Flying Dragon (1975) will be on view at Place Vendôme in Paris beginning October 19. The installation marks the opening of Gagosian’s new gallery at rue de Castiglione and is part of FIAC Hors les Murs, which presents artworks in emblematic public spaces throughout the city.
Flying Dragon (1975)—which exemplifies Calder’s capacity to invest a powerful visual dynamism in his work regardless of scale—is among the last of the monumental works he made. While static, the striking sculpture transforms when viewed from different angles. Constructed from sheet metal, it is physically weighty but appears delicate due to its limited points of contact with the ground.
Alexander Calder, Flying Dragon, 1975, installation view, Place Vendôme, Paris © 2021 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Thomas Lannes
Gagosian Announces New Paris Gallery
Gagosian is pleased to announce the opening of a new location in Paris in October 2021. Situated at 9 rue de Castiglione, in the 1st arrondissement, the space is part of the historic Hotel Lotti development, built in 1910. The location is steps from Place Vendôme, where Leo Castelli and René Drouin opened the storied Drouin Gallery in 1939, and within walking distance of the Musée du Louvre, Musée de l’Orangerie, and Musée d’Orsay.
The exterior of Gagosian’s new gallery at 9 rue de Castiglione, Paris. Photo: Thomas Lannes
October 17–20, 2019, booth B33
Grand Palais, Paris
Gagosian is pleased to participate in FIAC 2019 with Artists on the French Riviera, a special presentation that explores twentieth-century artistic life on the Côte d’Azur. On display are works by Alexander Calder, Jean Cocteau, Alberto Giacometti, Yves Klein, Fernand Léger, Man Ray, Henri Matisse, Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso, and Edward Quinn, among others.
Jean Cocteau in front of one of the several murals he painted on the walls of Francine Weisweiller’s Villa Santo Sospir, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France, 1954. Photo: Edward Quinn
Modern from the Start
Through January 15, 2022
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Alexander Calder reimagined sculpture as an experiment in space and motion, upending centuries-old notions that sculpture should be static, grounded, and dense by making artworks that often move freely and interact with their surroundings. Bringing together early wire and wood figures, works on paper, jewelry, mobiles in motion, and monumental abstract sculptures, the exhibition takes a deep dive into the full breadth of Calder’s career and inventiveness.
Installation view, Alexander Calder: Modern from the Start, Museum of Modern Art, New York, March 14, 2021–January 15, 2022. Artwork © 2021 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Gerhardt © 2021 The Museum of Modern Art
Through February 13, 2022
Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin
This exhibition traces the unique relationship between size, scale, and spatiality in Alexander Calder’s works, while juxtaposing his organic forms with the strict geometry of Mies van der Rohe’s building in a poetic dialogue. Calder’s outdoor sculpture Têtes et queue (1965), which was originally installed at the museum’s inauguration, now returns to its terrace.
Alexander Calder, Têtes et queue, 1965, installation view, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin © 2021 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Stephanie von Becker
Heaven and Earth
Alexander Calder and Jeff Koons
October 21, 2017–March 24, 2019
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
This exhibition brings together a selection of works from two contemporary art icons, allowing viewers to experience their sculptures in playful and unexpected ways.
Jeff Koons, Three Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Dr. JK Silver Series), 1985 © Jeff Koons
100 Years of Kinetic Art
September 22, 2018–January 20, 2019
Kunsthal Rotterdam, Netherlands
Action<–>Reaction: 100 Years of Kinetic Art covers a wide range of kinetic art and offers visitors an opportunity to experience work that appeals to all of the senses. The exhibition is a revival of the successful 2013 Paris exhibition Dynamo. Work by Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, and Carsten Höller is included.
Alexander Calder, Untitled, 1963 © 2018 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York