What is the largest kinetic sculpture / mobile in the world?
Links to various videos of the installation keep floating around social media sites calling it “the largest kinetic sculpture in the world”. As far as I know, the largest kinetic sculpture (and also the largest mobile) in the world is Alexander Calder‘s White Cascade, which hangs in the Eastburn Court of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia:
It measures approximately 100 feet from top to bottom, is 60 feet at its widest point, and weighs close to 10 tons, including the motor, surpassing Calder’s 920 pound 76-foot-long mobile (or 85 feet, depending on source) at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. I’m not sure if any of his stabiles are larger, but if not, then this would also be Alexander Calder’s largest sculpture. And speaking of that large mobile at the National Gallery, did you know it actually doesn’t have a name? When Calder was asked for a title, he replied “You don’t name a baby until it is born.” But then he passed away one year before it was installed at the Gallery.
Back to White Cascade: It took just two days to install it. The installation was carried out in two stages. In the most difficult and time-consuming part of the job, the four top-most and largest aluminum discs — still in their protective wrappings — were joined to their respective stainless steel rods, then raised one by one and linked together. The 10 lower discs and rods were linked together on the ground level, then raised into position as a unit. A crane situated on the sidewalk outside the entrance to the Bank provided the lifting power.
Finally, the wrappings were removed. The 14 white aluminum discs that comprise “White Cascade” range in size from 3.5 feet in diameter to 12.7 feet. The longest of the connecting stainless steel rods is 36 feet; the shortest, 9 feet. Powered by an electric motor, the mobile rotates clockwise on a radius of 32.5 feet.
Here’s a photo by H. Scott Heist of Calder in front of the mobile:
The mobile was installed in May 1976, Calder passed away less than six months later.
Do you know of a larger kinetic sculpture? Let me know if you do and I’ll add it to this post.
Also see my list of the 5 Largest Mobiles worldwide that I’m aware of.
– Update: –
I received an email from Anthony Howe nominating his OCTO 3 sculpture as possibly the largest outdoor permanent kinetic wind sculpture. It mseasures 25′ h x 30′ w x 30′ d (7.6m x 9.1m x 9.1m) and weighs 3,200kg: