About the Exhibition
Alexander Calder in New York is the first-ever multi-work exhibition of the artist's sculptures in New York City's public spaces. Calder (1898-1976, b. Philadelphia, PA) was an engineer by training; and the works on view epitomize his technical mastery of industrial materials. But they also demonstrate his joyful imagination, his sense of harmony and balance, and his lifelong interest in color, abstraction, scale and anthropomorphism.
"Stabile" is the term that Calder used throughout his life to describe his freestanding, nonmoving sculptures, from the delicate stand-alone geometric abstractions he made in the early 1930s to his monumental multi-story constructions of the 1960s and 1970s. Artist Jean Arp coined the term in 1932 to describe those works in comparison to Calder's mobiles. The stabiles on view throughout City Hall Park were made between 1957 and 1976, a period when Calder had devoted himself to making outdoor sculpture on a grand scale from bolted sheet steel. In delicate counterpoint to these large outdoor works, Untitled (1976), one of the last mobiles the artist made before his death, hangs in the rotunda stairwell inside City Hall.
In addition to the works on view in this temporary exhibition, there are a number of stabiles and mobiles by Alexander Calder that are on permanent or long-term public display in New York City. Object in Five Planes (1965), 26 Federal Plaza near Worth and Lafayette Streets, is located just three blocks north of City Hall Park.