Alexander Calder was an American artist best known for his brightly coloured sculptures called mobiles by fellow artist Marcel Duchamp.
Calder used an ingenious system of weights and counterbalances to create graceful, airy sculptures that move easily with air currents. If you have a mobile with a modern aesthetic for your child’s room, chances are it owes a debt to Calder’s inventions.
Follow the link to see Calder’s 76-foot long sculpture in the National Gallery’s East Building in Washington. This graceful, airy piece actually weighs 920 pounds and was restored and repaired in 2005.
The May 2011 issue of The World of Interiors profiles the Calder Foundation which is dedicated to promoting his legacy and art. The foundation occupies a minimalist loft in the Chelsea district of New York surrounded by Calder sculpture.
For more information about Calder, take a look at Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: form, balance and joy which was published in conjunction with a travelling exhibit that began in 2010 and is still on the road.
I encountered Calder again in a delightful book by Mary Randolf Carter called A Perfectly Kept House is a Sign of a Misspent Life (2010).
It turns out this artist of all that is light, airy and balanced worked amidst an astounding chaos of clutter in his Connecticut studio which is revealed in a two-page spread. And, his work style followed him home. She shows the Calder kitchen, full of the colour and life of its inhabitants – a far cry from the pristine space where the Calder foundation works today.
Carter makes the case that clutter is the stuff of life and should be embraced. Tame it, organize it, maybe; but don't waste your time trying to eliminate it.
I think this is a message that a lot of people will enjoy.