Friday, December 12, 2008

The Jewelry of Calder

Ever since I studied art back in college I have loved the work of artist Alexander Calder. He revolutionized the art of sculpture by expressing movement with his invention of the “mobile,” a word coined in 1931 by Marcel Duchamp to describe Calder’s kinetic, and often whimsical, sculpture.And it was his mobiles that I found most intriguing.....until I discovered his jewelry about a year ago. I don't recall studying Calder's jewelry in college. Maybe I did but it didn't impact me at the time because I wasn't into jewelry making like I am now. Some 90 of the 1,800 pieces of jewelry he made over the course of his career are being given their own exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum — the first museum show to focus on Calder’s jewelry. His use of the spiral - a favorite image of mine - is a repeated theme in his jewelry. His bracelets, earrings and necklaces were mini-mobiles that dangled from the wrists, ears and necks of sophisticates like Peggy Guggenheim and Jeanne Moreau.The works in “Calder Jewelry” are made of wire,brass and steel, with bits of ceramic, wood and glass. All are unique objets d’art; Calder had many opportunities to sign off on reproductions, and always refused (much to his dealers’ chagrin). Read this and take a look at his wearable art:

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