Alexander "Sandy" Calder and Kinetic Sculpture

Week Three! Alexander Calder- 1898-1976 American Artist, Surrealism & Kinetic Sculpture

We are just trucking along this semester and learning some great things. Last week we finished our Henri Matisse lesson in line and organic shapes and we are moving right into a lesson in shape, balance, contrast and emphasis.

Our new artist is Alexander Calder (CALL-DER), an American artist who is famous for his invention of Kinetic Sculpture. He invented the mobile and stabile. He thought that art didn’t only have to be two-dimensional and he designed the mobile and stabile because he liked motion and space. A mobile is hanging sculpture and a stabile is freestanding abstract sculpture that is made out of sheet metal and painted in primary colors. The stabile is similar in construction of the mobile in that it is free moving but has a stable base.

Calder earned a degree in mechanical engineering but loved the arts and enrolled in the Art Students League of New York City. He moved to Paris where he was hired by a newspaper to draw scenes from the circus. This inspired him to make wire sculptures of the circus and assembled miniature circus shows, which were dubbed, “Calder’s Circus.” Calder was then inspired by Piet Mondrian’s art, which used simple free flowing compositions and primary colors. This directed him to discover and innovate the mobile and he used simple organic shapes, balance and encouraged contrast and emphasis.

This leads to last weeks lesson in contrast and emphasis. I taught the kids what complimentary colors are and if they have not told you yet they are colors that are opposite the color wheel. Our 4-6th grade class was taught another painted paper technique using complimentary colors that they will use in our upcoming project. We will be making a mobile this week. Our K-3rd graders worked on beading pipe cleaner leaves that they will hang on their mobiles and the 4th-6th grade class will make "Calder" inspired mobiles using complimentary and contrast color shapes.

Enjoy these videos that will help you understand the love and life of Alexander Calder.

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