Technical Behind-the-Scenes Aspects of Designing, Making and Installing a Large Custom Mobile

Some of the technical (“behind the scenes”) aspects of designing, making and installing a large custom mobile.

Design:
Proposing a variety of designs to the client (see the full render designs).

Image of Custom Mobile Designs Artist

Site inspection.

Photo of Multi-Level Atrium for Sculpture Commission

Planning:
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.

Image of Suspended Art Installation

Image of Hanging Art Installation

Establishing the engineering data.

Image of Large Scale Sculpture Engineering Data

Fabrication:
Preparing the file containing the shapes (Calder style/inspired with this specific design chosen by the client) for laser cutting.

Image of Calder Style Mobile Shapes Laser Cut

Custom made knurled pins pressure fitted with a 10-ton press.

Photo of Kinetic Art Mobile

Verification:
Confirming that all the balance points have been calculated correctly, in other words, reality needs to confirm theory (with the help of a crane).

Photo of Large Mobile Sculpture

Transport:
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.

Photo of Large Sculpture Commission Transport

Installation:
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.

Image of Hanging Atrium Sculpture Installation

Image of Hanging Lobby Sculpture Installation

See the finished and installed mobile.

See more of my large custom mobile projects.

9 Original Calder Works Coming to Auction for the First Time

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 India for three weeks. This is the first time this group of Calder sculptures is coming to auction. Among the works to be auctioned:

Sumac #17
Hanging Mobile
Sheet metal, wire and paint
Inspired by the flowering plant of the same name
Estimated at US$4 million to US$6 million

Photo of Original Hanging Mobile Sculpture Calder Sumac

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):

Photo of Calder India Mobiles For Sale

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.

– Read more of my blog about mobiles or see some of my mobiles

The 5 Largest Mobiles Worldwide That I’m Aware Of

.125 by Alexander Calder
In collaboration with SOM
At the International Arrival Building at JFK Airport

Photo of Large Mobile Sculpture Lobby Alexander Calder

The 5 largest mobiles worldwide that I’m aware of – all by Alexander Calder:

  1. White Cascade (1976) at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia – 100 feet / 30 meters
  2. Untitled (1977) at the National Gallery of Art – 76 feet / 23 meters
  3. Eléments Démontables (1975) at Bank IV in Wichita, Kansas – 47 feet / 14.5 meters
  4. .125 (1957) at JFK Airport New York City – 45 feet /13.5 meters
  5. Mountains and Clouds (1986) at the Hart Senate Office Building – 42.5 feet / 13 meters

My largest mobile to date measures 33ft (10m).

Largest Alexander Calder Exhibition Opens at Tate (London)

The largest Alexander Calder exhibition titled Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture opens at Tate Modern (London) tomorrow with over 100 works, and runs from Nov 11 2015 until Apr 3 2016. The Guardian writes: “The exhibition is both a reminder of how good he could be, and a revelation of how complex and far-reaching his influence still is.”

Image of Original Alexander Calder Mobiles

The exhibition includes Black Widow (1948) on loan outside of Brazil for the first time:

Image of Original Alexander Calder Mobile

The large mobile has hung at the Instituto de Arquitetos do Brasil in Sao Paulo for more than 50 years:

Image of Original Alexander Calder Mobile

Video of the exhibition by Vernissage TV:

Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture Reviews:

– Read more of my blog about mobiles

Mobiles – 3D Models – Render Animations (Videos)

A number of render animations I’ve put together of custom mobile designs:

To see the separate full length videos, please go to my YouTube channel.

© 2016 Marco Mahler