Alexander Calder: Cosmic Abstraction

June 21 - August 30, 2019
Palm Desert, CA


Alexander Calder was a prolific American artist who infused his artwork with a wit and whimsy and brought movement to objects, thereby creating kinetic sculptures and dynamic drawings. From painting to textiles, works on paper to mobiles, this virtual exhibition explores the relation between abstraction and the cosmology of shapes created by Calder that would constitute his own visual vernacular.

While the line is the starting point for many artists, Calder transposes it into three dimensions to create what appear to be drawings in space. When he first exhibited these sculptures in 1932, Duchamp conferred the word “mobile” to describe them. These kinetic sculptures are composed of wire counter-balanced with thin metal fins. Moved by air currents, the sculptures become traveling stellar and celestial bodies.

Even in his oil painting and gouache on paper, Calder captures dynamism in lines that appear to dance and pirouette like his mobiles. Calder conjures an abstracted cosmos that shift from twinkling constellations to swirling sea creatures. Accomplished in printmaking and working in textiles, Calder’s cosmic vision is alive in these artworks as well. This virtual exhibition is a glimpse into the abstracted universe of Calder.

Did you know… that Alexander Calder was lifelong friends with Joan Miró? His Mercury Fountain is even on display at the Fundació Joan Miró.