Venus Over Manhattan Presents CALDER SHADOWS by Alexander Calder, 11/4-12/21
NEW YORK.... Sculptor, painter, illustrator, printmaker and designer, the renowned American artist Alexander Calder (1898 - 1976) was above all a master engineer of shifting lines and dancing shadows. After visiting Piet Mondrian's studio in 1930, Calder began the experiments with abstract construction that would come to define his oeuvre. He drew inspiration from the playful work of Joan Miro? and Paul Klee, and adopted the intuitive approach of the Surrealists, making hand- cranked and motorized kinetic sculptures that challenged the definition of sculpture as a form fixed in space and created a place for motion in the expressive vocabulary of art. Calder's mechanized works gave way to his mobiles and stabiles, sculptures whose disparate metal elements - made from bent wire and flat sheet metal cut-outs - were constructed with such masterful equipoise that their movements occurred naturally and unpredictably in response to the energy of the surrounding atmosphere. "How can art be realized?" Calder asked. "Out of volumes, motion, spaces bounded by the great space, the universe...Not extractions, but abstractions. Abstractions that are like nothing in life except in their manner of reacting."
Beginning November 4, 2013, Venus Over Manhattan will present Calder Shadows, an exhibition designed uniquely to explore the exquisite "manner of reacting" that sets the artist's work apart: A group of a dozen rare Calder mobiles and stabiles created between 1929 and 1974 will be presented in darkness. Each sculpture will be lit so that its shadows become the exhibition's subject: wire will become oscillating line drawings and flat metal forms will become independent presences that dance along the walls, ceiling, and floor of the gallery.Calder Shadows will also present a group of the artist's small maquettes in unpainted sheet metal executed in the years between 1966 and 1974. Calder used of shadows cast by such maquettes to explore issues of of scale as he formulated his monumental stabiles.
Organized in collaboration with the Calder Foundation, Calder Shadows will remain on view through December 21, 2013.
Among the masterpieces on view at Venus will be Little Black Flower (1944), an exemplary mobile created during the decade widely considered to be the most fertile period of development in the artist's career. Privately held and not exhibited since the 1940s, the sculpture is composed of red-painted metal and wire, with a small black flower dancing at the end of a wire 'stem.' Also on view will be a 1939 mobile from Calder's 'Tuning Fork: series, a work that suggests the artist's affinity with the Surrealists.