Stabiles and assemblages


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  • Nature serves as Liberman's aesthetic inspiration. According to the artist, "The whole ambition to create comes from looking at nature. The point is not to copy the forms, but to be inspired by the randomness and the monumentality of what surrounds us." It is this sentiment that accounts perhaps for the underlying spiritual magnetism of his work as seen in Sabine Women I .The circle has intrigued Liberman throughout the seven decades of his artistic career. Appearing first in his geometric paintings and early constructions of the years 1949-1962, the circle motif, in a variety of guises, continues in his most recent paintings and sculptures. Perhaps acting as a metaphor for continuity and the cyclical nature of life, the circle has offered Liberman a myriad of design possibilities. The eliptical pieces in Sabine Women I were created by slicing steel gas storage tanks on an angle, while the remaining shapes were cut out of sheet steel. All of the pieces were thoughtfully arranged then skillfully welded together to produce a sculpture that appears light and airy. It is a dynamic composition of thrusting, rising, soaring, and swirling metal shapes. Liberman was born in Kiev, Russia, in 1912. After moves to London and Paris, he settled in New York in 1941, working as the editorial director for Vogue , Glamour , and House & Garden . An immensely energetic man, he also became successful, even famous, for his artistic career as a painter and sculptor.
  • he "two crucial elements for a sculpture to be successful. First, the use of scale. In America, sculpture must compete with the size of our country and our buildings. It is this juxtaposition between the scale of the sculpture and its environment that inspires a sense of ‘awe.’ Secondly, the sculpture must have a distinct form. The form created by the repetition of shapes; it is this repetition that gives the object a sense of rhythm."
  • ALEXANDER CALDER (1898-1976)    Alexander Calder, internationally famous by his mid-30s, is renowned for developing a new idiom in modern art-the mobile. His works in this mode, from miniature to monumental, are called mobiles (suspended moving sculptures), standing mobiles (anchored moving sculptures) and stabiles (stationary constructions).  Calder's abstract works are characteristically direct, spare, buoyant, colorful and finely crafted. He made ingenious, frequently witty, use of natural and manmade materials, including wire, sheetmetal, wood and bronze. Calder was born in 1898 in Philadelphia, the son of Alexander Stirling Calder and grandson of Alexander Milne Calder, both well-known sculptors.  After obtaining his mechanical engineering degree from the Stevens Institute of Technology, Calder worked at various jobs before enrolling at the Art Students League in New York City in 1923. During his student years, he did line drawings for the National Police Gazette.   In 1925, Calder published his first book, Animal Sketches, illustrated in brush and ink. He produced oil paintings of city scenes, in a loose and easy style. Early in 1926, he began to carve primitivist figures in tropical woods, which remained an important medium in his work until 1930. In June 1936, Calder moved to Paris. He took some classes at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere and made his first wire sculptures.  Calder created a miniature circus in his studio; the animals, clowns and tumblers were made of wire and animated by hand. Many leading artists of the period attended, and helped with, the performances. Calder's first New York City exhibition was in 1928, and other exhibitions in Paris and Berlin gained him international recognition as a significant artist. A visit to Piet Mondrian's studio proved pivotal. Calder began to work in an abstract style, finishing his first nonobjective construction in 1931. In early 1932, he exhibited his first moving sculpture in an exhibition organized by Marcel Duchamp, who coined the word "mobile." In May 1932, Calder's fame was consolidated by the first United States show of his mobiles. Some were motor-driven, His later wind-driven mobiles enabled the sculptural parts to move independently, as Calder said, "by nature and chance."  Calder returned to the United States to live and work in Roxbury, Massachusetts in June 1932. From the 1940s on, Calder's works, many of them large-scale outdoor sculptures, have been placed in virtually every major city of the Western world. In the 1950s, he created two new series of mobiles: "Towers," which included wall-mounted wire constructions, and "Gongs," mobiles with sound. Calder was prolific and worked throughout his career in many art forms. He produced drawings, oil paintings, watercolors, etchings, gouache and serigraphy. He also designed jewelry, tapestry, theatre settings and architectural interiors.   Calder died in 1976.
  • I n Black Beast of 1940 we see in the stabiles abstractions of human movements, a classical content of sculpture.  The body language is being re-seen here as well as by Marcel DuChamp and Martha Graham.  The stabiles seemed to be saying something deeper than the mobiles, while both took on an elegance without losing the sense of delight.   It became almost "a must" for new buildings to have a Calder in the lobby or on the lawn.  The color schemes continued as primary red/yellow/blue and black and white.  Frank Lloyd Wright wanted to commission a large mobile to hang in the dome of the new Guggenheim Museum, in gold.  Calder replied that he didn¹¹ care what color it was just so it was black.  A golden opportunity was lost.  Yet later the large stabile for the Montreal Expo was made of nickel.  It looked best when seen in a dark, almost black silhouette.
  • 1933 Born in Shanghai (CN) Mark di Suvero was born in Shanghai, China, where his parents were in the Italian diplomatic service. At the outbreak of World War II, his family moved to San Francisco where he attended public school. He dropped out of high school to travel and worked as a camp counselor, apprentice house painter, and ship builder. He began painting in 1953, entered college to study sculpture and philosophy, and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1956. One year later he moved to New York City and began using scrap from demolished buildings to create what he called "cubist, open spatial sculptures." In 1960, while working for an elevator repair company to support himself, he was pinned by an elevator and was under one ton of pressure for an hour, which left him paralyzed. Confined to a wheelchair, he learned to use an electric arc welder and began to show his first work in stainless steel in New York galleries. In the 1960´s, he mastered the use of the crane, cherry picker, acetylene torch and welder, bought his own crane, and began to use it to bend steel for his art. Di Suvero´s sculpture has been shown widely in the United States and Europe. He currently divides his time between large industrial studios in Petaluma, California, Chalon-sur-Saone
  • It was dedicated in 1969 in front of City Hall on a large plaza that has become known as Calder Plaza. That same spirit of bringing art outside museum walls for all to enjoy inspired the first Festival of the Arts in 1970. Alexander Calder designed that festival logo.
  • Stabiles and assemblages

    1. 1. Stabiles and Assemblages
    2. 2. Alexander Liberman1912-1999Russian born Phoenix 1975
    3. 3. Ulysses1988Painted steel
    4. 4. SymbolRockford, Illinois
    5. 5. Aria1983Meijer Gardens
    6. 6. Begob1996
    7. 7. Canticle1992
    8. 8. Laocoon 1982
    9. 9. Sabine Woman 11981
    10. 10. Alexander Calder1898-1976
    11. 11. Black Beast 1940
    12. 12. Grand Vitesse
    13. 13. Flamingo Chicago
    14. 14. Mark di Surevo1933-present
    15. 15. Dedicated in 1969 to Grand Rapids
    16. 16. GalileoGermany
    17. 17. Mozart’s Birthday
    18. 18. Aesops Fables 1990
    19. 19. Aztec 1989
    20. 20. Arch Spirit 2003
    21. 21. Chonk On 2000
    22. 22. Beyond2004