Exhibitions

Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy

Images

  • An organically shaped wooden plank has rays of various sizes and colors extending from a single point near the bottom.
  • An abstract sculpture depicts five overlapping red pigs.
  • A black mobile made of wire and metal is suspended in air.  The tips of the wire are adorned with leaf-like appendages.
Installation view, Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy, MCA Chicago, Jun 26–Oct 17, 2010. © 2010 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Alexander Calder, Snowflakes and Red Stop, 1964. Painted sheet metal, metal rods, and steel wire; 58 × 48 in. diameter (147.3 × 121.9 cm diameter). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Leonard and Ruth Horwich Family Loan, EL1995.13. © 2010 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Jason Meadows, Artemis, 2004. Particleboard and paint; 67 × 28 × 65 in. (170.2 × 71.1 × 165.1 cm). Collection Tate Modern, London
An organically shaped wooden plank has rays of various sizes and colors extending from a single point near the bottom.
Jason Middlebrook, Untitled Painted Plank 4, 2008. Acrylic paint on walnut wood; 110 1/16 × 19 3/8 × 1 5/8 (279.6 × 49.2 × 4.1 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sara Meltzer Gallery, New York
Photo: Hermann Feldhaus
An abstract sculpture depicts five overlapping red pigs.
  1. Long Red metal rods form the shapes of abstract pigs overlapping in a three-dimensional sculpture. The pigs are bisected by different rod segments flowing into another pig. The piece is standing in the middle of a gallery with white walls and a gray, concrete floor. All of the pigs have curly tails. The overall shape of the sculpture is similar to a bike rack.
Jason Meadows, Pig Latin, 2008. Painted and welded wrought iron, steel, and rebar; 72 × 68 × 36 in. (182.9 × 172.8 × 91.4 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Marc Foxx Gallery
Aaron Curry, Deft Composition (Deft Composition), 2009. Painted wood and steel; 108 ½ x 52 × 45 in. (275.6 × 132 × 114.3 cm). Private Collection, courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen
Martin Boyce, Broken Branches and Flyovers, 2007. Galvanized steel and foam; 80 × 77 × 77 in. (203 × 195.5 × 195.5 cm). Courtesy of the artist, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, and Modern Institute/Toby Webster, Ltd., Glasgow
Photo: Fabien Birgfeld, PhotoTECTONIC
Martin Boyce, Fear Meets the Soul, 2008. Steel, powder coated steel, acrylic paint, and altered plywood leg splint designed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1942; approx. 88 × 68 × 95 in. (223.5 × 172.7 × 241.3 cm). Courtesy of the artist, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, and Modern Institute/Toby Webster, Ltd., Glasgow
Photo: Jean Vong
Nathan Carter, RADAR REFLECTOR ORIGIN PETIT CALIVIGNY GRENADA, 2009. Steel, plastic, galvanized wire, aluminum, rubber, and enamel paint; approx. 72 × 72 × 3 in. (182.9 × 182.9 × 7.6 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York
Aaron Curry, Danny Skullface Sky Boat (Reclining), 2009. Paint on anodized aluminum; 108 ¼ x 101 ½ x 41 in. (275 × 257.8 × 104.1 cm). Hall Collection
Photo: Fredrik Nilsen
Nathan Carter, TYROLEAN ALPINE WIRELESS STATIONS MERANO TRENTO BOLZANO CORTINA D'AMPEZZO SARENTINO READY FOR RADIO CHECK, 2009. Steel, wood, acrylic paint, and enamel paint; overall dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York
Kristi Lippire, Three Under Parr, 2008. Aluminum, foam, acrylic paint, urethane, freezer paper, gouache, wood, cotton strap, and vintage 1960s and 1970s Tupperware; 142 × 104 × 34 in. (360.7 × 264.2 × 86.4 cm)
Courtesy of the artist
A black mobile made of wire and metal is suspended in air.  The tips of the wire are adorned with leaf-like appendages.
Alexander Calder, Untitled, c. 1944. Steel and wire; 47 × 46 in. diameter (119.4 × 116.8 cm diameter). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of the Mary and Earle Ludgin Collection, 1983.108. © 2010 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Jason Middlebrook, How Much Thought and Consideration Goes Into Our Decisions, 2008. Acrylic on ash wood, steel, and three cast concrete plastic bottles; 103 × 46 × 29 in. (261.6 × 116.8 × 73.7 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Sara Meltzer Gallery, New York
Photo: Hermann Feldhaus
Kristi Lippire, Balloons, 2008. Steel, mortar, foam, and paper; approx. 110 × 26 × 45 in. (279.4 × 66 × 114.3 cm)
Courtesy of the artist

About

Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy pairs the work of Alexander Calder with the work of seven contemporary artists whose practices are bound to Calder’s legacy as modern sculptor. While a well-known, even beloved figure in art, Calder has not previously been considered an important point of reference for contemporary artists. This is the first exhibition to explore Calder’s significance for an emerging generation of sculptors, reconsidering his influence and his innovation through a presentation of his own work alongside the work of contemporary artists.

The seven contemporary artists in this exhibition: Martin Boyce, Nathan Carter, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Aaron Curry, Kristi Lippire, Jason Meadows, and Jason Middlebrook, have taken important cues from Calder including a return to hands-on production, the creative reuse of materials, and explorations of form, balance, color, and movement. Combining rigorous concept with a renewed emphasis on formalism, the work of these artists prioritizes the visual and visceral qualities of sculpture. Both directly and indirectly influenced by Calder, all of the artists are looking towards modernist forms and ideas, challenging and recontextualizing what is for many a familiar art history.

The MCA’s in-depth holdings of Calder form the core of the presentation of his work, complemented by mobiles, standing mobiles, and stabiles drawn from Chicago area and national public and private collections. Calder’s work is mounted along with sculptures by the contemporary artists. Middlebrook is also undertaking a site-specific commission for the exhibition, creating a mobile for the MCA’s atrium.

Organized by MCA Curator Lynne Warren, this exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue copublished by the MCA and Thames & Hudson and will tour nationally.

Installation Images

  • A three-dimensional, brown, abstract sculpture with silhouetted shapes is placed on a concrete slab within a park.
Installation view, Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy, MCA Chicago, Jun 26–Oct 17, 2010
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago, © 2010 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
A three-dimensional, brown, abstract sculpture with silhouetted shapes is placed on a concrete slab within a park.
Installation view, Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy, MCA Chicago, Jun 26–Oct 17, 2010. © 2010 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy, MCA Chicago, Jun 26–Oct 17, 2010. © 2010 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy, MCA Chicago, Jun 26–Oct 17, 2010
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy, MCA Chicago, Jun 26–Oct 17, 2010
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy, MCA Chicago, Jun 26–Oct 17, 2010. © 2010 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
  1. Long Mobiles hang in a gallery. An orange mobile with triangular and circular shapes is front and center. Other mobiles in the background are grayish and black with geometric shapes.
Installation view, Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy, MCA Chicago, Jun 26–Oct 17, 2010. © 2010 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy, MCA Chicago, Jun 26–Oct 17, 2010
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy, MCA Chicago, Jun 26–Oct 17, 2010
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Installation view, Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy, MCA Chicago, Jun 26–Oct 17, 2010
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Funding

Lead Corporate Sponsor

Major support for the exhibition is generously provided by the Kenneth and Anne Griffin Foundation. Additional generous support is provided by Margot and George Greig, Anne and Burt Kaplan, Ruth Horwich, the Broad Art Foundation, Gagosian Gallery, Lindy Bergman, Helyn Goldenberg, Sara Szold, and the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.

Official airline of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago