Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Alexander Calder

It was with great interest that I read the article, "Long-lost Calder banners on display in Philadelphia," by Stephan Salisbury, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, on January 12, 2009.

Quoting from the article, "The eight banners are so large - ranging from 18 feet to 28 feet in length - that only the four shortest could be hung in the library's central lobby.

"They are beautiful," Davis said. "They aren't faded or damaged, except for some small water damage. These are the only banners Calder ever designed."

The banners owe their existence to developer Jack Wolgin, who commissioned three signature works in 1975 as part of the Redevelopment Authority's percent-for-art program requirement."

This article ties some events together for me about Alexander Calder and 1975.

Calder visited Philadelphia in 1975. I was in my freshman year at Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts), and I remember Calder's visit. I also vividly remember that the Pennsylvania Ballet was commissioned to do a ballet in his honor, and I was given a ticket to see it. The ballet was incredible, and was probably THE most inspirational and influential (art) event in my life. I remember being unsure if I belonged in art school. Watching a ballet that was performed for and about Alexander Calder, who was in the theater watching it while I was too, moved me in incredible ways, and led to my deciding that I should be studying art. Very powerful.