Friday, July 22, 2011

Celebrating Calder

Today is the 113th birthday of the great American artist Alexander Calder, most famous for inventing the moving sculptures known as mobiles.  His colorful and fun work decorate many of the world's most famous buildings, including the entrance to the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art in DC and the Twin Tower building (prior to their destruction on 9/11).

This occasion is being celebrated by one of the highest honors in the early 21st century--being recognized through a Google Doodle (which replaces the usual Google trademark name for a day at the top of the search engine).  As befits the revolutionary and whimsical nature of his work, Calder's Doodle is not just an ordinary Doodle.  This Doodle is interactive; you can move the different components of the mobile shown by clicking on it with your mouse, or, if you have the right kind of laptop, by tilting the screen one way or another.  You can see the interaction in the movie below:

This Doodle is particularly appropriate to our household because next week, my son is going to a week-long art camp entitled "Chihuly, Calder, Christo."  Here is the description:
You will make startling sculptures fashioned after these cutting edge artists.  With the use of plastic, wire, and metals, you will create moving abstract art to enjoy for years to come.
Doesn't that sound great?  Honestly, I wish I could take half the classes and camps and such that my son does, because there are just so many really fun and interesting educational opportunities in this community.

So I may not be able to do the camp, but I do foresee some more Calder in my future.  In 2012, those of us in the Triangle NC region will be fortunate enough to have a major new Calder exhibit at our fingertips.  The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham will be presenting "Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art:  Form, Balance, Joy," which will include 34 pieces by Calder, along with works by contemporary artists inspired by him.  You can read more about the exhibit here, but I KNOW we'll be having a homeschool field trip there once the exhibit opens.

We have to wait until February 2012 for the start of that exhibit.  But check in next week, and we will share some of my son's Calder-inspired sculptures.

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