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Alexander Calder in Focus: Works from the Leonard and Ruth Horwich Family Loan

Nov 12, 2005–Jun 25, 2006


Alexander Calder
Blue Among Yellow and Red, 1963
Painted sheet metal and steel wire
43 x 63 in. diameter (109.2 x 160 cm diameter)
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Leonard and Ruth Horwich Family Loan, EL1995.12
© 2013 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Alexander Calder is the subject of a small exhibition each year at the MCA to provide an opportunity to look at how the seminal artist’s ideas developed throughout his 50-year career. These works from 1927 to 1968, mostly from the Ruth and Leonard Horwich Family Loan, include examples of Calder’s mobiles, stabiles, drawings, and paintings. Calder combined colorful shapes abstracted from nature—snowflakes, birds, and animals—with an interest in mechanics to create whimsical, hanging mobiles that move with air currents. His explorations of both geometric and organic shapes have distinguished him as an innovator of art that responds to its physical environment.

Although Calder began as a painter and drawer, in the late 1920s, he created a miniature circus, complete with figures of lions, sword-swallowers, and trapeze artists, with which he entertained his friends. Calder’s work eventually turned towards natural forms that he simplified into dynamic, often whimsical creatures.

This exhibition is organized by Assistant Curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm.