Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor & Workshop for Kids – NGV

Illustrations for Creation Zone multimedia interactive as part of Alexander Calder: Workshop for Kids, National Gallery Victoria 2019
Illustrations for Creation Zone multimedia interactive as part of Alexander Calder: Workshop for Kids, National Gallery Victoria 2019
Alexander Calder A

Alexander Calder 1898–1976 Aluminum Leaves, Red Post 1941 sheet metal, wire and paint The Lipman Family Foundation © 2018 Calder Foundation, New York / SODRAC, Montréal Digital Image © Whitney Museum, New York

American artist Alexander Calder (1898–1976) is widely regarded as the clever man who used both metal and movement in his works of art.

His methods were considered both radical and pioneering in his day, as he sought to create his own version of modernity.

He is recorded as having visited the studio of Dutch painter and theoretician, by then considered one of the great artists of the twentieth century, Piet Mondrian, in 1930, and later described his impression…

It was a very exciting room. Light came in from the left and from the right, and on the solid wall between the windows there were experimental stunts with colored rectangles of cardboard tacked on …

I suggested to Mondrian that perhaps it would be fun to make these rectangles oscillate. And he, with a very serious countenance, said: ‘No, it is not necessary, my painting is already very fast.’…

This one visit gave me a shock that started things*

His response was to do what Mondrian refused to; make abstract art move.

Calder Fun

Alexander Calder American 1898–1976, Aerialist c. 1926–31 wood, wire, leather, cloth, lead, and string 35.6 x 14.3 x 3.8 cm, Jonathan O’Hara Gallery, New York © 2018 Calder Foundation, New York – SODRAC, Montréal

Organised and circulated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Calder Foundation and National Gallery of Victoria, the Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor exhibition has been made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Calder B&W

Alexander Calder 1898–1976 Performing Seal 1950 sheet metal, paint and steel wire © 2018 Calder Foundation, New York / SODRAC, Montréal Photo Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago Alexander

On view at NGV International, April 5 – August 15, 2019, Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor, will explore the depth and breadth of his influential career, including his childhood.

The exhibition showcases approximately ninety sculptural and pictorial compositions set alongside other works of sculpture, drawing, painting, jewellery and other media from North American art museums and private collections.

They include generous loans from the Calder Foundation, New York, which will inform on how he inspired, informed and influenced others.

Works on show include his explorative two-dimensional studies of line and space, his three-dimensional wire portraits and his circus figures, as well as his most acclaimed artistic ‘inventions’, the mobile and the stabile.

Alexander Calder in his studio, laying on floor looking up at circus sculpture. Detail: (Photo by George Hoyningen-Huene/Condé Nast via Getty Images)

Alexander Calder in his studio, laying on floor looking up at circus sculpture. Detail: (Photo by George Hoyningen-Huene/Condé Nast via Getty Images)

At the same time, Alexander Calder: Workshop for Kids, will be open, giving children of all ages, a chance to explore their own inner creative self, Calder style.

They can as he did as a child, gift their parents with the results of their ideas, following a productive hands-on session in an especially designed studio.

Calder Choose a Location

Illustrations for Creation Zone multimedia interactive as part of Alexander Calder: Workshop for Kids

A perfect learning environment and constructive entertainment for the school holidays, they will be able to work with custom-designed paper templates, intersecting shapes and folding techniques to help them to build animal sculptures.

Just as Calder also designed outdoor sculptures on a grand scale, children equipped with a virtual toolbox of shapes and colours, will be able to create public artworks in a specially designed multimedia game, enriching the experience of Melbourne for all by designing public sculptures for popular sites such as St Kilda Beach, the Royal Botanical Gardens or at NGV International.

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Alexander Calder American 1898–1976 Fish 1944 metal, paint, wire, plastic, wood, glass, and ceramic 41.3 x 122.2 x 11.4 cm Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden © 2018 Calder Foundation, New York – SODRAC, Montréal

Tony Ellwood AM, Director, NGV said, ‘The NGV is dedicated to nurturing young creative minds through year-round programming tailored to children and families. Alexander Calder: Workshop for Kids is a participatory exhibition designed to inspire learning and art-making for visitors of all ages, while also exposing children to the work of Calder, a mid-century modernist master” he said.

Such fun!

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2019

Alexander Calder: Radical Inventor

Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder, American 1898–1976, Gamma 1947, painted sheet metal and steel wire, 147.3 x 213.3 x 91.4 cm, Collection of Jon Shirley, © 2018 Calder Foundation, New York – Copyright Agency, Australia

5 April – 4 August 2019
NGV International, St Kilda Road, Melbourne

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Illustrations for Creation Zone multimedia interactive as part of Alexander Calder: Workshop for Kids

Alexander Calder: Workshop for Kids

5 April – 4 August 2019
NGV International, St Kilda Road, Melbourne

FREE

The NGV warmly thanks The Truby and Florence Williams Charitable Trust, managed by Equity Trustees, the Crown Resorts and Packer Family foundations and Official Supplier, Canson Australia for their generous support of Alexander Calder: Workshop for Kids.

*Description: (‘Calder’, Thames and Hudson, Ugo Mulas, H.H. Arnason)

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