Come Back to SAM! Get tickets now »

Conversation with the Collector: Living with Mobiles

Do you collect art? Why do you do it? While conversations could go around and around about potential investment value, etc., most who collect do so because they have encountered something that moves them in a way that nothing else can. And living with original works of art for which you feel such attachment enriches every day of your life.

I’ve heard Jon Shirley speak of his first encounter with the work of Alexander Calder. He was drawn to the sculptor’s work at a very young age. It was many years before he would purchase his first Calder piece, but since that first encounter he and his wife Mary have built one of the greatest collections of Calder’s works in existence and have learned a great deal about the artist’s work. (For instance, did you know that no two Calder mobiles are exactly alike?)

What happens when passion becomes a collection? What is it like to live with a house full of Calder sculptures?

 

You only have five more days to feel the glow of these spectacular works. Alexander Calder: A Balancing Act is gone after April 11.

– Nicole Chism Griffin, Associate Manager of PR at SAM

Hammering Man: Surgery is Underway

Hammering Man went into surgery without incident this morning. The docs are hard at work , performing the delicate operation to reattach his errant arm. Despite the wind, prognosis is good, and it seems he may be re-armed and back in the swing by later this afternoon. We’ll be here in the waiting room (AKA, the SAM development department windows), and will keep you all posted on the Man’s progress.

Meanwhile, we’re completely out of fresh puns for this one and could use your help. Let us know what you can come up with.

-Nicole Chism Griffin, Associate Manager of PR at SAM

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

Olympic Sculpture Park and Kids

Today’s New York Times article by William Yardley highlighted the sculpture park’s no touching of art policy as an example of how Seattle is struggling to  become kid-friendly as the population of children here grows. As a mother of two extremely active and curious little girls, I can honestly say that my kids love playing at the Olympic Sculpture Park.  I am admittedly a little biased because I work for the museum but the park has a special sense of place that I know kids can sense.

Read More

It’s Free First Thursday!

Any day is a good day to visit a museum, but on this Free First Thursday we’re making it pretty hard NOT to pay us a visit:

Come join the fun!

Mauses und Dancers und Crowds, Oh, my! (Katharina Fritsch, Mann und Maus, 1991-92, Polyester resin and paint, 90 1/2 x 51 1/2 x 94 1/2 in. Gift of the Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum.

Mauses und Dancers und Crowds, Oh, my! (Katharina Fritsch, Mann und Maus, 1991-92, Polyester resin and paint, 90 1/2 x 51 1/2 x 94 1/2 in. Gift of the Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum.

-Nicole Chism Griffin, SAM PR

First Thursday enthusiasts surrounding/surrounded by Cai Guo-Qiang’s Inopportune: Stage One (Cai Guo-Qiang, Inopportune: Stage One, 2004, Cars and sequenced multi-channel light tubes, each car: 16 x 6 ft. © Cai Guo-Qiang)

 

Buddhism and Human Rights–Is This a Conflict?

We have heard more details recently about the ongoing war in isolated Burma [Myanmar]–especially this week in Seattle. Human rights reporter Mac McClelland was here, talking about her experiences living in Thailand by the Burmese border, an area swollen with refugee camps. She lived with Burmese dissidents, members of one of the ethnic groups targeted by Burmese government genocide, who risk their lives regularly by secretly crossing into Burma to document atrocities of the government’s ethnic-cleansing campaign.

Read More

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