Favorite Contemporary Artist: Alexander Calder

It all started in 2005, when I picked up a copy of Chasing Vermeer, a young adult novel about three sleuthing teens trying to find a missing Vermeer painting. I quickly became obsessed – not just with the novel, but with the art – and devoured the sequel, The Wright 3 (about Frank Lloyd Wright), and the third (and final) in the series: The Calder Game. This, of course, focused on the late contemporary artist Alexander Calder. The 40th anniversary of his death recently passed, but his art is still known around the world as remarkably unique.

Born in 1898 to a portrait artist mother and a sculptor father, Calder quickly found a knack for sculpture, both in the media of wire, mobiles, and outdoor works, despite his parents’ urging to study mechanical engineering. This would help him with his larger works – some, like one hanging in the new East Building of the National Gallery of Art, weighs 920 pounds and is 76 feet long. Despite his early death in 1976, his wire sculptures (resembling Picasso’s drawings), mobiles (perfectly balanced!), and monuments (including a opera house ceiling) remain ingrained in today’s world.

Brady Furlich ’19

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