Thursday, August 30, 2018

Calder Art Lesson Plan

When you walk into the National Gallery in Washington D.C., one of the first things you will see is a giant black and red mobile created by Alexander (Sandy) Calder. His father, like him, was a sculpture with the name of Alexander Calder. And his grandfather, the first of the three sculptors named Alexander, immigrated from Scotland and settled in Philly where his large William Penn statue stands on city hall's dome today.

Sandy Alexander went to Paris in the 1920's, where he became known as the King of Wire for his wire circus performers and faces. These were the inspiration for my students wire face creations (above).

He later created the mobile, hanging kinetic sculptures. The term mobile was given to Calder's work by avante guard artist and friend, Marcel DuChamp.  Another art legend, Piet Mondrian, in 1930 proved to be a huge influence on Calder's work, which began to incorporate, reduced, simplified forms, and a limited pallet.

In order to help my students make the step from symmetrical balance, to asymmetrical balance, they were each required to make a mobile. This exercise requires attention to actual weight and balance (not just visual weight and balance).

Some students used only circles, while others used a variety of shapes. Some used card stock, while others used tooled foil, cardboard, or mat board. These materials were colored with markers or spray paint and attached using wire, paperclips, or pipe cleaners.

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