A custom designed mobile for a private residence in Montana in progress:
For an element (shape) to be able to balance, the suspension point needs to be above the center of mass. In addition to this requirement, when the center of mass is lower (farther away from the suspension point), the balance will be more stable. Vice versa, when the center of mass is higher (closer to the suspension point), the balance will be more fragile (the element is more likely to overturn):
Obviously within a mobile, an element might have the weight of several elements that are in the lower part of the mobile attached to it, which lowers the center of of mass. A good example of this can be seen in a large site-specific mobile I was working on for a three story light shaft in Chicago last year:
In some cases, it might be necessary to raise the suspension point with the help of an extension:
Artists working in any medium, regardless of mobile-making experience (learn to make mobiles), are invited to try their hand at creating innovative pieces that are set into motion through air current. Unique interpretations of mobiles as sculpture in motion are encouraged. Challenge what’s possible in terms of form, materials, construction, movement and scale.
The exhibit will also provide information that helps visitors understand the principles that commonly govern mobile construction and ways in which the exhibiting artists may have adhered to or defied those principles.
There is no submission fee for this juried exhibit and you can enter as many pieces as you like. The Carrack is a zero-commission art space and therefore 100% of any sale proceeds go directly to the artist.
The submission deadline is August 7th 2016. The exhibit opens November 9th 2016. Please see www.themobileshowdurhamnc.com for more details, and follow up-to-date information on Facebook and Instagram.
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.