A new Alexander Calder exhibit titled Motion Lab at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art opened this past Saturday and will run until Sept 10 2017. It traces Calder’s explorations of motion from the late 1920s to the late 1960s.
Photos of Rigger Lawrence LaBianca lowering from the SFMOMA sky bridge to finish installing Calder’s 27-foot Untitled (1963) mobile in the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Atrium:
There’s also a video of the installation by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Some of the technical (“behind the scenes”) aspects of designing, making and installing a large custom mobile.
Proposing a variety of designs to the client (see the full render designs).
Creating the 3d model of the space and the sculpture. Making adjustments to ensure that as the kinetic sculpture rotates and moves with the air currents, it will always remain out of reach from the various floors.
Establishing the engineering data.
Preparing the file containing the shapes (Calder style/inspired with this specific design chosen by the client) for laser cutting.
Custom made knurled pins pressure fitted with a 10-ton press.
Confirming that all the balance points have been calculated correctly, in other words, reality needs to confirm theory (with the help of a crane).
Keeping it safe from vertical shocks caused by bumps and potholes as it’s transported (in this case) 500 miles / 800 km across the Appalachian Mountains.
Planning the layout of the mobile parts on the installation lift, so the overall 33 foot sculpture can be raised through the 22 by 15 foot opening in the atrium from the ground floor to the upper floors.
See more of my large custom mobile projects.
A group of nine works by Alexander Calder will be sold at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction in New York on May 10th 2016. All of them were made by Calder in 1955 while visiting Ambalal Sarabhai’s family estate in India. Calder spent three weeks at the secluded 20-acre estate, in a makeshift studio constructed in the garden with “a water-buffalo lady and a calf” for company, as he wrote in his book (Calder: An autobiography with pictures, 1966). This is the first time this group of Calder sculptures is coming to auction. Among the works to be auctioned:
Related: Watch a 360-degree view of Calder’s large red mobile Sumac created in 1961.
How the visit to India came about, in Calder’s own words: “In 1954, I received a letter from a young Indian woman, Gira Sarabhai, youngest of eight children of a large wealthy family in Ahmedabad, which is somewhere halfway between Bombay and Delhi. She offered Louisa and me a trip to India, if I’d consent to make some objects for her when there. I immediately replied yes.”
Calder in India in 1955 (Louisa Calder, his wife, is seated atop the elephant):
Estimates range as high as US$10 million, with a total pre-sale estimate of around US$26 million to US$38 million.
Read The forgotten journey of Alexander Calder and view the e-Catalogue. Also see An Expert Look at Never-Before-Auctioned Alexander Calder Works and Mobile Revolution.
.125 by Alexander Calder
In collaboration with SOM
At the International Arrival Building at JFK Airport
- White Cascade (1976) at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia – 100 feet / 30 meters
- Untitled (1977) at the National Gallery of Art – 76 feet / 23 meters
- Eléments Démontables (1975) at Bank IV in Wichita, Kansas – 47 feet / 14.5 meters
- .125 (1957) at JFK Airport New York City – 45 feet /13.5 meters
- Mountains and Clouds (1986) at the Hart Senate Office Building – 42.5 feet / 13 meters
My largest mobile to date measures 33ft (10m).
The design is based on the school’s PAWS award (pictured below). PRIDE is an acronym for P-Pride, R-Respect, I-Individual, R-Responsibility, D-Determination, and E-Empathy. Students receive a PAWS award when they display one of these character traits.
Initial design for the mobile:
Renders of the mobile in the 3d model of the rotunda:
Calculating the balance points:
The finished mobile installed in the rotunda:
The wall plaque in the rotunda:
A “fly-around” animation of the 3d model:
Also see Video: Mobile installed at Titus Elementary by the Bucks County Courier Times.