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Conversation with the Collector: World War II and Calder

During World War II, Americans at home were left to negotiate and adjust their lifestyle to food rations and other sacrifices – including the conservation and recycling of metal for the war effort.

What did this mean for Alexander Calder, an artist whose groundbreaking works were based on sheet metal and metal wire?

During the war, it meant experimentation with other materials such as wood. (You can see this playful Hen from 1943 in Alexander Calder: A Balancing Act for only 7 more days!)

Once the war was over, it meant the opening of a floodgate of creativity and one of the most productive periods of the artist’s career.

– Nicole Chism Griffin, Associate Manager of PR at SAM

Conversation with the Collector: Tiny Works By Alexander Calder

It’s amazing how many visitors to Alexander Calder: A Balancing Act have been drawn to the cases of tiny little sculptures, which seem to mirror what Calder was doing in a larger scale. At first glance, many think that these must be studies or models for later, larger works. It would be easy to picture them recreated in a giant mobile or big outdoor sculpture, but they are actually unique works of art in the own right.

Calder often played with variations on certain themes – such as red tripod bases with arcing cantilevers on top – in a range of sizes and media. It’s fun to look closely at these tiny Calders, as you can often discern the actual hand-pounding and forming of metal and the strokes of the master artist’s paintbrushes.

In this video, collector Jon Shirley talks a little more about these surprising pieces.

 

– Nicole Chism Griffin, SAM PR

Conversation with the Collector: Alexander Calder

“I think all Calders tend to make someone happy. That is the universal appeal of his art.” – Jon Shirley

Click on the video link below to hear more from Jon Shirley about the only adjustable Calder mobile ever made and what it’s like to live with Red Curly Tail (which has endured a snowball fight or two). 

Alexander Calder: A Balancing Act closes on April 11th. 

-Cara Egan, SAM PR

Take Pictures at SAM – You Spoke, SAM Listened

Photography inside a museum’s art galleries can be a touchy touchy issue. From conservation (yes, repeated “flashing” does damage art over time) to super serious legal matters (most 20th and 21st century art is under copyright by an artist or an estate), the issues surrounding the seemingly simple act of taking a picture are complex and abundant.

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Derrick Cartwright Talks Football

It’s Art Museum Directors gone wild as Max Anderson, director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and E. John Bullard, director of the New Orleans Museum of Art, break out the art historical smack talk, wagering art-against-art in the race for Super Bowl XLIV.

Tyler Green’s coverage of the heated negotiations is a must-read. But what does SAM’s own director, Derrick Cartwright, have to say about his esteemed colleagues, Super Bowl XLIV and the Seahawks? The Seattle Weekly’s Caleb Hannan asked the same question.

Nicole Chism Griffin, Associate Manager of Public Relations, SAM

Notes from the Electronic Frontline

As one of the webmasters at SAM I am witness to all sorts of emails—from basic visitor inquiries to requests to send a SAM representative to judge girls on their inner beauty at pageants. These emails have taught me a lot about human communication and the human tendency to only provide feedback when they have something negative to say. In this day and age of faceless electronic communication, more often than not, this means people feel that they can be informal, not use spell check or punctuation and in some instances, be as rude as they want.  The following emails have been reproduced as written, with errors and misspellings left uncorrected.

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What it takes

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it takes to put a work of art on view.  To our visitors, it should seem oh-so-easy: You see painting A (something you love) one day, and on your next visit it’s replaced with painting B (something you love even more). But behind the scenes, it’s anything but. As you relax and take in the holidays, here’s a little piece of our frenetic world to consider. (And as a little holiday bonus from me to you, all images are from 1983—enjoy!)

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