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Two Exhibitions Give Alexander Calder Works a Fresh Look

By Brienne Walsh

A pair of New York City shows are giving new perspective to the work of Alexander Calder. In Venus Over Manhattan’s exhibition “Calder Shadows,” 12 of the artist’s rare mobiles and stabiles are mounted in a dark room, each piece lit in such a way that its shadow, projected on the walls or floor of the gallery, is a work of art in its own right. Study the interplay long enough and it becomes difficult to distinguish between the actual physical piece and the ephemeral copy.

For Salon 94’s presentation “Show and Tell: Calder Jewelry and Mobiles,” it’s the American sculptor’s jewelry that takes center stage. Calder created over 2,000 pieces of jewelry that, like his mobiles, integrate moving elements and sculptural abstractions. Forty such trinkets are on view, but rather than appearing on the metal and wood displays Calder made to showcase them, they are incorporated into sculptural works alongside photographs by prominent contemporary artists including Huma Bhabha, Matthew Day Jackson, and Mickalene Thomas.

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