Alexander S. C. Rower and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso discuss Calder and Picasso
On the occasion of Calder and Picasso at Almine Rech Gallery in New York, the Calder Foundation hosted a conversation with Alexander S. C. Rower and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso on 11 November, moderated by Ann Temkin, the Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA. Rower and Ruiz-Picasso discussed the evolution of the exhibition and how they worked together to reveal the aesthetic relationship between the two artists.
The conversation is available to watch here.
Alexander S. C. Rower on a photograph of his family in Art in America
Alexander S. C. Rower tells the story of a 1964 Ugo Mulas photograph of the Calder family to Art in America.
Calder and Picasso opens in New York City
We are delighted to announce the opening of Calder and Picasso, the inaugural exhibition at Almine Rech Gallery in New York City, on view from 27 October–17 December 2016. Curated by the artists’ esteemed grandsons Alexander S. C. Rower and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, this exceptional and intimate exhibition brings together more than fifty works made between 1912–67, exploring for the first time the creative dialogue between these two modern masters. All of the works on view, including paintings, sculpture, and works on paper, have been drawn from the respective private family collections, many of which have rarely or never before been exhibited in public.
Calder and Picasso is the culmination of more than two years of conversation and collaboration, during which time Rower and Ruiz-Picasso explored the myriad preoccupations and practices of their grandfathers, finding dialogues in their work at once formal and philosophical. What started as a simple exchange of observations and imagery developed into an important and deeply personal journey of discovery and rediscovery, as the numerous aspects connecting these iconic artists became more distinct. Coming out of Rower and Ruiz-Picasso’s unrivalled knowledge of their grandfathers’ œuvres, the exhibition does not aim to be exhaustive, but instead offers a unique insight into two of the most important artistic figures of the twentieth century.
The thoughtfully curated selection of works in Calder and Picasso will bring to light the artists’ interests in modes of representation and the void, or nonexistence as tangible matter. Certain similar dynamic qualities emerge between Calder’s energetically charged wire sculptures and Picasso’s immediate and spontaneous line drawings, both of which evoke a fluid, living mode of linear representation, inviting the viewer to fabricate his or her own complete illusionistic image. Calder’s treatment of transparency and space was groundbreaking, as was his introduction of actual motion into his works, overturning the implied depiction of motion that was a preoccupation of Cubism and Futurism. Calder and Picasso, as is often the case, were two disparate artists of a shared era who were drawn to coincidental questions in their practice, each producing his own fascinatingly unique formulations.
National Gallery of Art inaugurates new Calder Tower
At the opening of their renovated East Building on 30 September 2016, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., unveiled a new skylit Tower Level gallery devoted to the work of Alexander Calder, constituting the largest long-term gallery space in the world dedicated to the beloved modern master. Calder is represented by nearly fifty works spanning the late 1920s through 1976, approximately half of which are on loan from the Calder Foundation.
Curated by Harry Cooper, the presentation is something of a mini-retrospective. Key highlights include Aztec Josephine Baker (1930), a fully articulated hanging wire sculpture depicting the music-hall superstar of the Parisian avant-garde, as well as the vivacious Rearing Stallion (c. 1928). Seven nonobjective oil paintings from 1930 are on view—Calder’s first abstractions, all painted within a period of two weeks—as well as important sculptures such as Red Panel (1936), constituting his largest “painting in motion.” The presentation is visually centered on Eucalyptus (1940), a majestic hanging mobile that exemplifies Calder’s mature vocabulary. Its large surreal elements hang in palpable tension with the floor, moving with hypnotic grace.
There are numerous other works by Calder on view at the NGA, including his monumental site-specific mobile from 1976, in the atrium; Tom's (1974), at the entrance of the NGA’s West Building; and Cheval rouge (1974), in the sculpture garden. Elsewhere along the Mall are Gwenfritz (1968), outside the National Museum of American History; Mountains and Clouds (1976), at the Hart Senate Office Building; and Tableau noir (1970), in front of the National Portrait Gallery.
Calder and Brazilian Art opens at Itaú Cultural, São Paulo
Comprising nearly sixty works of art, Calder and Brazilian Art, on view at Itaú Cultural in São Paulo, explores the American artist’s impact on fourteen Brazilian artists, revealing the ways in which he informed the development of neo-concretism in the country.
The exhibition presents approximately thirty works by Calder, including hanging and standing mobiles, stabiles, maquettes for monumental sculptures, oil paintings, and works on paper, juxtaposed in dialogue with kinetic Brazilian works from the 1940s and 1950s that went on to influence subsequent generations, also explored in the exhibition. The Brazilian artists featured include: Abraham Palatnik, Lygia Clark, Hélio Oiticica, Willys de Castro, Judith Lauand, Lygia Pape, Waltercio Caldas, Antonio Manuel, Luiz Sacilotto, Ernesto Neto, Franklin Cassaro, Carlos Bevilacqua, Cao Guimarães, and Rivane Neuenschwander.
Calder first traveled to Brazil in 1948 on the occasion of solo exhibitions in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. He was included in two São Paulo biennials (in 1951 and 1953), directly influencing the poetic imagery in the country, and he established friendships with renowned Brazilian artists and architects.
Calder Foundation President Alexander S. C. Rower notes, “My grandfather’s time in Brazil had a lasting impact on him, both emotionally and intellectually. He was fascinated by the boundless energy of the country’s culture—he especially loved samba—and his mobiles, in turn, captivated Brazilian artists and intelligentsia in ways that continue to resonate today. The show at Itaú presents an exciting dialogue—one befitting Calder’s affinity with the Brazilian spirit.”
The National Gallery of Art unveils Calder in the Tower
As part of its East Building renovation and expansion, opening on 30 September 2016, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., will devote a new skylit Tower Level gallery to Calder, constituting the largest long-term gallery space in the world dedicated to the beloved modern master. Long a keystone in the NGA’s collection, Calder will be represented by nearly fifty works spanning the late 1920s through 1976, in addition to the monumental hanging mobile that occupies the building’s atrium. Approximately half of the works on view will be on long-term loan from the Calder Foundation, while the rest belong to the National Gallery.
Calder Foundation President Alexander S. C. Rower states, “It is such a privilege to collaborate again with the National Gallery of Art on this tremendous presentation of my grandfather’s works. The Calder gallery shall be an ongoing destination for visitors to experience Calder’s masterpieces, which engage our senses with anticipation and surprise.”
Stay tuned for more information!
On Calder's Birthday
In his 1966 autobiography, Calder wrote, “I always thought I was born—at least my mother always told me so—on August 22, 1898. But my grandfather Milne’s birthday was on August 23, so there might have been a little confusion. In 1942, when I wrote the Philadelphia City Hall for a birth certificate, I sent them a dollar and they told me I was born on the twenty-second of July, 1898. So I sent them another dollar and told them, ‘Look again.’ They corroborated the first statement.”
Because of this lasting confusion, we did our own research. When we reviewed the hand-written Birth Register, the official ledger of the Board of Health, we found the same July date. Then we dug further to the Return of Births, the original document upon which the ledger is based. George W. Stewart, the country doctor who attended Calder's birth in Lawnton, Pennsylvania, listed Calder as his sole delivery. After the prompt, “Return of Births, in the City of Philadelphia, under my care for the month of,” he initially wrote “September,” only to cross it out and write “July.” Dr. Stewart's uncertainty continues to this day.
When Calder's father, mother, and sister heard that his birth certificate stated 22 July 1898, they thought that city officials had made a mistake. As for Calder, he celebrated both birthdays, as do we.
Calder in the Alps
Hauser & Wirth will inaugurate an exhibition of outdoor monumental sculptures by Calder in Gstaad, on view from 14 July–30 September 2016, marking the first time this remarkable body of work has been exhibited in Switzerland.
Situated against the town’s dramatic landscape, Calder in the Alps comprises a standing mobile and five stabiles from the 1960s and 1970s, which will be installed in public locations that include the Lauenensee, Kirche Saanen, UBS promenade, and Le Grand Bellevue hotel.
Calder concentrated his efforts on making outdoor sculptures on a monumental scale during the later part of his career, turning his attention to major commissions for cities, museums, and universities around the world. A paradigm shift in the history of twentieth-century sculpture, his large-scale works in industrial materials reveal the artist’s lifelong fascination with energy and space, creating a new relationship between object and environment.
Calder Foundation President Alexander S. C. Rower remarks, “My grandfather reset the traditional relationship between volume and void with his monumental sculptures. Installed against the mountainous backdrop of Gstaad, these works will surely surprise viewers as they harmonize in unpredictable ways with their surroundings.”
For more information about Calder in the Alps, visit Hauser & Wirth’s website.