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Visiting Alexander Calder: Modern From The Start At MoMA

Ever curious about happenings in our hometown, The 10,000 recently visited MoMA’s Alexander Calder: Modern From The Start exhibit, which is on view through August 7th, 2021. Offering a hyper-focused analysis of Calder’s oeuvre, the small and impeccably curated exhibit reestablishes Calder not only as an icon of American art, but also as a pillar of the Museum of Modern Art itself. 

In visiting Alexander Calder: Modern From The Start, viewers are in many ways revisiting past curations and exhibits of Calder’s work, first displayed at the museum in 1930, only months after MoMA’s inception in November of 1929. Calder was subsequently included in the museum’s landmark 1936 exhibitions, Cubism and Abstract Art and Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism, before a dedicated exhibit in the fall of 1943, Alexander Calder: Sculptures and Constructions, made Calder the youngest artist to be given a retrospective at MoMA. This mid-career survey, which focused on a variety of hanging sculptures and wall works constructed of wood, wire and steel, was later considered by Calder himself as pivotal to the overall trajectory of his career.

In Alexander Calder: Modern From The Start, MoMA is committed to sharing all facets of the artist’s career: early wire and wood figures, works on paper, jewelry, mobiles and large sculptures. Guiding the viewer through a semi-chronological experience to understand Calder’s entire scope reveals a progression from the artist’s early wire sculptures through to the large-scale polychrome mobiles for which he is most widely known. Interestingly, Calder’s grandson and president of the Calder Foundation, Alexander S.C. Rower, stated at a virtual lecture that Calder’s works don’t depict anything, they just “are” and were often named for selling purposes only. 

Alexander Calder: Modern From The Start is on display at MoMA Floor 1, at The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden and MoMA, Floor 3 at The Edward Steichen Galleries. Click here to learn more and reserve your timed ticket to visit.

From Left: Untitled, 1939 and Swizzle Sticks, 1936
From Left: Untitled, 1939 and Swizzle Sticks, 1936
Untitled, 1939
Untitled, 1939
Black Widow, 1959
Black Widow, 1959
Snow Flurry, 1948
Snow Flurry, 1948
Sandy’s Butterfly, 1964
Spider, 1939
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