Spotlight on Sculpture: Alexander Calder

Calder island_Davis egg beater

Installation view of Made in the USA. Photo courtesy The Phillips Collection

With the heat and patriotic spirit of early July upon us, now is a great time to check out Made in the USA before it comes down on August 31. As a new intern, I’ve enjoyed spending some time with this exhibition; especially a few works by some of my favorite artists, among them Alexander Calder, whose works Hollow Egg, Red Polygons, and Untitled are currently on view. The first time I wandered the galleries I was immediately drawn to the three sculptures for their distinct presence amidst the two-dimensional works that make up most of the show. In fact, the way Calder’s work is displayed makes it visible from three of the galleries; a curatorial decision I can’t help but think of as a strategy to emphasize the universal relationships these sculptures have with painting, and image-making in general. Next to Stuart Davis’s Egg Beater No. 4, it’s easy to recognize the parallels between Calder’s use of wire and strokes on a canvas.

Another hallmark of Calder’s work (seen in two of the three pieces on display) is his exploration of movement. The suspended metal shapes act like sails that catch the quiet breezes created by the motion of viewers in the gallery space, allowing the mobiles to rotate with currents of air. This delicate movement is to me what makes viewing the works a powerful experience; they depend on their audience in order to become mobile at all.

Elaine Budzinski, Marketing Intern

Go Team!

Joe Holbach, Trish Waters, Bill Koberg, and Renée Maurer in their hotel lobby where a banner for our exhibition is on display. Photo: Sue Frank

Today is the big opening for our exhibition in Daejeon, Korea, Conversations: Impressionist and Modern Master Works from The Phillips Collection. Two years in the making, this show furthers our relationship with notable museums in Asia and the citizens of those countries who have seen our works in loan and traveling exhibitions in the past. This unusually large team—chief registrar and director of special initiatives Joe Holbach, associate registrar for exhibitions Trish Waters, installations manager Bill Koberg, assistant curator Renée Maurer, and associate curator for research Sue Frank—is representative of the size and complexity of this installation. Joe reports, “Highly energetic opening tonight.” (Which technically was yesterday for them.)

“Wait, that wasn’t there last week…”

Two paintings by Arthur B. Davies

Two works by Arthur B. Davies: (left) Dew Drops, not dated, Oil on canvas 13 x 15 5/8 in.; 33.02 x 39.6875 cm.. Acquired 1923. (Right) Elysian Fields, not dated, Oil on canvas 18 x 30 in.; 45.72 x 76.2 cm.. Acquired 1927.

Because our exhibition Made in the USA has a uniquely long run, we’re keeping the story going by swapping out some works for others. Just yesterday a crop of new paintings went up on the walls by Arthur B. Davies, Robert Spencer, and Albert Pinkham Ryder. Come see the show (again) to find other changes.

(Left) Robert Spencer, Across the Delaware, ca. 1916, Oil on canvas 14 x 14 in.; 35.56 x 35.56 cm.. Acquired by 1921, probably 1917. (Right) Albert Pinkham Ryder, Homeward Bound, ca. 1893-ca. 1894, Oil on canvas mounted on wood panel 8 7/8 x 18 in.; 22.5425 x 45.72 cm.. Acquired 1921.

(Left) Robert Spencer, Across the Delaware, ca. 1916, Oil on canvas 14 x 14 in.; 35.56 x 35.56 cm.. Acquired by 1921, probably 1917. (Right) Albert Pinkham Ryder, Homeward Bound, ca. 1893-ca. 1894, Oil on canvas mounted on wood panel 8 7/8 x 18 in.; 22.5425 x 45.72 cm.. Acquired 1921.