The art of Alexander Calder is displayed at the Denver Botanic Gardens from April 28 to September 24, in a display of nine sculptures called Calder Monumental. The sculptures were originally meant for a nature setting, but usually ended up in an urban background. In this exhibit, the statues are back in a natural environment, and the staff of the Gardens did an amazing job of placing the statues in a background that really suited them.
Alexander Calder (1898-1976) was a modern artist famous for his hanging mobiles. This exhibit only has one of these, however. The showcase is more about Calder’s standing mobiles and statues. It focuses on the end of his career in the last two decades of his life, all the way up to the year of his death. If you’re a person who likes art, this exhibit is for you. These huge abstract metal pieces will take your breath away. These statues have a lot of personality, partially because the cuts on the metal were originally drawn freehand and the art seems less stiff because of it. One thing you should know about these pieces is that Calder doesn’t title his work until he’s finished, and then titles them based on the impression or feeling his art creates. The Crab was named not because it was supposed to be a crab, but because Calder felt like the statue showed the scuttling motion of a crab. Some figures seem very familiar, and some seem so out of this world it’s hard to imagine them in day to day life.
There is a misconception about Alexander Calder. People think he was a jovial man, but actually he was a very serious artist, according to his grandson, Alexander (Sandy) Rower. Calder is considered one of the most influential sculptors of the twentieth century and is known for his prominent and energetic sculptures and mobiles. This art makes you think deeper about the wonderful things in this world- art, music, creativity, and freedom. He created his art to invoke positivity, because he figured we had enough negative experiences in the world. This showcase of Calder’s work is a collaboration of the Calder Foundation, the Denver Botanic Gardens, and the Denver Art Museum. It was fun to learn that Calder’s parents were artists but didn’t want their son to be one because they didn’t want him to struggle like they had to. When they put him in an engineering degree, he didn’t like it and he eventually switched to art. The next time your parents try to tell you what to be, remember what Calder did and know that you can always follow your own path.