Calder: Monumental

Denver Botanic Gardens

April 28 - September 24, 2017

calderAlexander Calder, A Two-Faced Guy, 1969
Sheet metal, bolts, and paint, 84" x 80" x 64"
© 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Denver Botanic Gardens’ exhibition of iconic American artist Alexander Calder’s bold sculptures – Calder: Monumental – is the first outdoor show of Calder’s work in the West and the first solo outdoor exhibition in the U.S. in more than a decade.

Calder devoted much of his later working years to monumental sculpture, many of which were public commissions. Gracing public plazas, landmark atriums and even airport halls, Calder’s works transformed the surrounding space, definitively changing the public’s experience of it. True to his practice, Calder’s monumental works are made of industrial materials and bolted steel plates, and the works exhibited in Calder: Monumental are no exception. In some cases, a mobile structure sways at the top of the sculpture to create a “standing mobile.” In addition to the outdoor sculptures, one indoor mobile in monumental scale is presented in the Boettcher Memorial Center, on loan from the Denver Art Museum. The featured abstract and figurative sculptures span from 1956–1976.

Denver Botanic Gardens
1007 York St
Denver, CO 80206

Calder: Monumental is guest curated by Alfred Pacquement, honorary director, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou in Paris, and organized in conjunction with the Calder Foundation, New York. Lenders to the exhibition include: Calder Foundation, New York; Denver Art Museum; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution; Museum of Fine Arts Houston and Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.

Alexander Calder (1898–1976) is celebrated as a titan of modern sculpture. He first gained recognition in the 1920s in Paris for his work of performance art Cirque Calder (1926–31). At the same time, Calder invented wire sculpture, moving volumes that could be seen from all angles. After turning to abstraction in 1930, Calder invented another new form of sculpture, the “mobile,” so-termed by artist Marcel Duchamp. As Calder’s renown grew, he received commissions from cities and museums around the world for monumental sculptures of the type exhibited at the Gardens, making Calder the first truly international artist – as well as one of the first to embrace public sculpture as an important element of civic life.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, UMB Bank, Ace Hardware and the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD).

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