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ENRICH-0010 – Art Hist: Calder and the Modern Tradition (ENRICH-0010_CALD)

Whimsical and Transformational: Alexander Calder and the Modern Tradition

American sculptor Alexander Calder once said, “My fan base is enormous. Everyone is under 6.” That sense of humor, combined with a limitless curiosity and the ability to work with just about any material, made Calder a key lynchpin between the European and American avant-garde movement in the mid-20th century. Rather than working in the dour modes of Regionalism and American Scene painting popular with many American artists working during the Great Depression, Calder experimented in playful, quasi-figurative and abstract idioms more reminiscent of the European avant-garde. How did Calder, whose artist parents begged him to forgo the life of a struggling artist and become a mechanical engineer, develop his craft at a time when “whimsy” was so far from people’s lives?

Join Clyfford Still Museum Director, Dean Sobel, for an overview of Calder’s work, beginning with his time in Paris during the 1920s and 30s. How did his friendships with Marcel Duchamp, Jean Arp and Joan Miró impact the trajectory of his work? During this period, Calder all but invented “kinetic” art, first with movable pedestal sculptures soon followed by his “mobiles,” which featured suspended wire and painted steel sculptures. Which pieces led to his international acclaim and why? Why were these pieces so transformative to the art movement of his time? Learn how Calder’s mobiles evolved into “stabiles”—floor-oriented works that frequently incorporated kinetic elements. These works form the basis for the summer blockbuster Calder: Monumental at the Denver Botanic Gardens where this class will convene for its final session. Add some whimsy to your life as you discover the true importance of this iconic American artist! 10% discount to Gardens members.

Three sessions
Tue., 7-9 pm, Sept. 12, 19, 2017
Gardens visit, Sat., 10 am, Sept. 23
Location: Room 119, Shwayder Art Building, DU campus


Dean Sobel is founding director of the Clyfford Still Museum, and formerly director of the Aspen Art Museum and chief curator of the Milwaukee Art Museum. A specialist in 20th-century art, he is an author and a frequent speaker on the topic of contemporary art.
Course Details
Location: University ParkMode of Study: In-personPlaces Left: 28Waitlist Places Left: 10Fee: $125

Sessions

Days of the WeekStart DateEnd DateTimeVenueInstructor
Tuesday12th September 201719th September 201707:00PM - 09:00PMShwayder Art BuildingDean Sobel
Saturday23rd September 201723rd September 201710:00AM - 12:00PMN/ADean Sobel