Light Reading Live Wire: Alexander Calder

July 24, 2017

The current Whitney Museum exhibition is on our list of summer must-sees.

Alexander Calder was the original Man on Wire. The American artist (1898-1976) mobilized modern art in a very literal way, elevating sculpture from the gallery floor by hanging sheet-metal cutouts from the ceiling in precariously balanced compositions. The floating pieces possessed an air of weightlessness, of precariousness; they turned in response to the slightest burst of wind.

What’s lesser known are the Calder works that moved on their own, on view now at the Whitney Museum’s stunning “Calder: Hypermobility.” After a painstaking tune-ups of many aging mechanical parts, the museum presents rarely seen motorized works in which the parts follow their own choreographed rhythm, bringing the artist’s works back to life long after his death. These pieces, which stand or hang, dance, and sometimes strike gongs, will be performing live at the Whitney now through October 23, alongside a few human guest performers—musicians, tightrope walkers, dancers, and more. For the full schedule, visit the exhibition site.