I once had the experience of sleeping under a Calder mobile, which meant waking up to its slow, wondrous movement. Since then, like most people, I’ve viewed Calder’s mobiles in a museum exhibition, where it is rare they they are put into motion. Alexander S.C. Rower, Calder’s grandson and President of the Calder Foundation has remedied that. For the Whitney’s show Calder: Hypermobility, he trained art handlers to activate the sculptures so viewers can experience them moving as Calder intended.
Perhaps next best option for those that can’t visit the Whitney show, is the marvelous interactive website at the New York Times, where you can see several mobiles moving in their natural flow (no special 3D glasses required). It is the closest digital experience I’ve found to the real thing. Just click this link to wake —in all meanings of the word — to a Calder mobile.
Here’s a little MP4 of Calder’s S and Star from the Whitney’s website: magic made of plywood, speedometer cable, sheet metal, wire and paint, powered by a small motor. (Courtesy of the Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)