Cult Rooms Inside Alexander Calder’s studio, where chaos and kinetic art found a harmonious balance.

Cult Rooms Inside Alexander Calder’s studio, where chaos and kinetic art found a harmonious balance.

  • Words Stephanie d’Arc Taylor
  • Photograph Evans/Three Lions/Getty Images

The work of Alexander Calder is kinetic, fluid, constantly in motion. He’s best known for his elegant mobiles (the term itself has its origins with Calder; Marcel Duchamp applied it to his work after visiting the sculptor’s studio). These are abstract, colorful shapes cut from sheet metal, which hang on wires and are perfectly counterbalanced with either more sheet metal or a weighted ball. His mobiles, as well as much of his jewelry, painting, and other work, are just-so abstractions—gossamer delicacies which gently respond to changes in their environments like chiffon-wearing dancers. “Each element [is] able to move, to stir, to oscillate, to come and go in its relationships with other elements in the universe,” Calder wrote in 1932.

The exquisite precision of Calder’s wor...

ISSUE 52

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