Learning from the Masters The Art of Mobiles with Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder
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gidrobur23.ru/includes The S. Williams library on the bucolic Stevens campus at Castle Point is a cavernous Modernist building and one of Hudson County's best archival repositories, filled floor to floor with major historical Stevens family heirlooms and engineering artifacts. As tempting as it was to study the library's awesome holdings, I zeroed in on Calder's two donated pieces: a gigantic mobile above the entrance to the Stevens family museum and period room and a black stabile -- "Hard to Swallow" -- on the second floor at the end of a long central corridor.

Both beautiful works were given to the college by Calder in the late s toward the end of his long life.

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But it was a rare copy of Calder's illustrated autobiography that, for me, would reveal his historical bond with Hoboken. Taking a seat at a table adjacent to a display case, I found in the earliest chapters Calder's fond remembrances of attending Stevens from to The young "Sandy," as they nicknamed him, excelled from the beginning, becoming a star player on the lacrosse team, breaking academic records in mathematics, and taking up the study of mechanical engineering -- a specialty that would later help propel his sculptural career and mastery of the mobile.

Visitors will keep Alexander Calder mobiles on the move at Tate show - BBC News

After earning his mechanical engineering degree in , Calder left Hoboken and became a wanderer for the next four years, working odd jobs as a draftsman and traveling on ships as a boiler room fireman and mechanic. Over the next decade, Calder's Stevens education seemed to drift into the background. He entered the Art Students League in New York, got a job as an illustrator, improved toys for toy companies, and traveled to and established a studio in Paris, the art capital of the world, where he befriended and inspired the likes of Mondrian, Picasso, Miro, Le Corbusier, and where he invented his famous circus performing models and dolls.

The entire original model, Cirque Calder, is now at the Whitney. Starting in the late s, Calder's Stevens training was finally put to use when he began building intricately rendered metal mobiles and sculptures. In a mid-career interview, Calder stated that to be a mechanic, one must be an artist first.

Living in Paris, Calder discovered abstract art and found the freedom to experiment with form.

Happy Birthday Alexander Calder! Lesson Plan and Resources

Wires, plates, rivets, discs and orbs became his lexicon. In his Hoboken-trained hands, metal could be crafted into abstractions worthy of being displayed, admired and celebrated in the greatest of galleries and museums. His originality impressed the world's most prominent artists and allowed him special access into their circles and societies. Calder's prominence grew in the art world and his output and reach remained constant all into the s and s when he worked primarily in monumental public sculpture. When he died at age 78 in , the Whitney had opened a major retrospective -- and Calder had just refused the Medal of Freedom from President Gerald Ford in protest of the Vietnam War.

Overwhelmed, I closed Calder's autobiography. I touched, once again, his black stabile.

How do balance and motion connect art and science?

Leaving the Stevens library, I passed once more under his Great Hall mobile. Outside, walking across the campus glades toward Washington Street, reflecting on the soon-to-close Pace Gallery exhibit, I sensed that in Calder's sculptural canon the Stevens works stand apart -- not so much as masterworks of American sculpture, which they are, but as literal links between student and college, artist and city.

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Williams Library, Stevens Institute of Technology. Listening to the song,. It turns out he invented mobiles. He was known as Sandy by most people and he liked to create toys from stuff he had around his house from the time he was little.

Alexander Calder Curriculum & Art Projects for Kids

His mom was a painter and his dad a sculptor, so art was prevalent in his life from the beginning. This fish is pretty neat:.

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Then we looked on Youtube for his circus. He made detailed little circus figures that actually did things and then he performed his circus for his friends. We completed that lesson.

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There is a slide show presentation with teaching notes and then a corresponding art project for each artist. We spent a lot of time on creating! And the mobile uses a chopstick, but a skewer would work.

I happened to have wire left over from my scrapbooking days. What FUN!!

Calder-Inspired Mobiles - Projects #65 and #44

I love your sculptures. Thanks for all these great resources! They were clearly very much into this project! We read these books too, but Anna was too young for the projects then. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.