Alexander Calder and Abstraction at Lacma

Calder and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde to Iconic

Resnick Pavilion
November 24, 2013–July 27, 2014

Alexander Calder, Eucalyptus, 1940, sheet metal, wire, and paint, 94 1/2 x 61 inches

Calder and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde to Iconic at Lacma

One month left to see this elegantly installed show of Modernist masterworks by Alexander Calder.

It was Marcel Duchamp who coined the term “mobile” to describe Calder’s early subtly kinetic sculptures in the early 1930s. While there may be a lingering air of childhood school projects when one thinks of mobiles, stepping into the Calder exhibition at Lacma’s Resnick Pavillion clears the mind of any such associations.

Calder's Un effet du japonais

Alexander Calder’s Un effet du japonais

Stark white sloping exhibition walls perfectly frame Calder’s exquisitely delicate biomorphic forms, all inky black and primary. Seeing these pieces up close, one can easily see the artists hand and a kind of primitive contstruction (basically painted metal plates and bent wire), which makes their perfect elegance and grace that much more impressive.

Unlike, say, the Calder-inspired work of Jean Tinguely, Calder’s mobiles don’t move very much, only slight fluctuations of gravity and breeze edge their shapes along their axis.

Calder LA County Museum Print from 1965

Calder Poster Design

If I had one critique it would simply be that I was hoping to see some of Calder’s 2d work as well, such as his paintings and works on paper. They do include a poster from Calder’s last exhibition at LACMA in 1965.