Alexander Calder is the subject of a small exhibition each year at the MCA to provide an opportunity to look at how the seminal artist’s ideas developed throughout his 50-year career. These works from 1927 to 1968, mostly from the Ruth and Leonard Horwich Family Loan, include examples of Calder’s mobiles, stabiles, drawings, and paintings. Calder combined colorful shapes abstracted from nature—snowflakes, birds, and animals—with an interest in mechanics to create whimsical, hanging mobiles that move with air currents. His explorations of both geometric and organic shapes have distinguished him as an innovator of art that responds to its physical environment.
Although Calder began as a painter and drawer, in the late 1920s, he created a miniature circus, complete with figures of lions, sword-swallowers, and trapeze artists, with which he entertained his friends. Calder’s work eventually turned towards natural forms that he simplified into dynamic, often whimsical creatures.
This exhibition is organized by Assistant Curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm.
With the launch of this website, the MCA has created a platform for archiving and publishing images and stories from our 50-year history. Though many exhibition pages currently lack descriptions or illustrations, we’re committed to a program of ongoing research that will fill in the blanks over time. If you have information about past MCA exhibitions to share, we’d be delighted to hear from you.