Past Exhibitions

Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy

Exhibition Through September 4, 2011

OCMA is proud to serve as the only West Coast venue for Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy, a thought-provoking reexamination of the modernist master whose work has inspired a new generation of contemporary artists. From monumental mobiles and stabiles to more delicate works, the exhibition presents approximately 30 sculptures by Calder and major works by seven young artists who embrace the forms and materials used by Calder. 

Throughout his long career, Calder combined playful subject matter, primary colors, and organic and geometric shapes to create accessible works that are witty and buoyantly full of life. This range and resourcefulness is grounded in recurring artistic concerns, in particular the relation between form, mass, and movement. The exhibition presents a range of Calder's classic mobiles—kinetic sculptures made of balanced parts capable of motion; stabiles—self-supporting, static, abstract sculptures; and bronze sculptures. 

Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art offers an opportunity to see the work of Calder anew, through the eyes of contemporary artists who explore structure and balance, in many cases creating expressive artworks. The exhibition presents a number of works by each artist.

Martin Boyce (b. 1967 in Glasgow; resides in Glasgow): The work of Martin Boyce examines the aesthetics of modern sculpture, furniture, and architecture and often features materials associated with this period. The Scottish artist, who recently represented his country at the 2009 Venice Biennale, explores the functionality of design using formal strategies of geometry and repetition. 

Nathan Carter (b. 1970 in Dallas; resides in Brooklyn, New York: Featuring whimsically absurd titles, Nathan Carter’s sculptures and wall hangings are fashioned from industrial and found materials that create myriad geometric shapes and dynamic lines and presents a welcoming playfulness. 

Abraham Cruzvillegas (b. 1968 in Mexico City; resides in Paris): Abraham Cruzvillegas constructs poignant sculptures from everyday objects that are often part of the urban landscapes in which he works—including Mexico City and Paris. Cruzvillegas was a recipient of an Atelier Calder residency in France and created the work Bougie du Isthmus (2005) on view in this presentation, during his time there. 

Aaron Curry (b. 1972 in San Antonio, Texas; resides in Los Angeles): The work of Aaron Curry uses elements of popular culture and media to reconsider tropes and themes of art history. The human and animal forms that Calder explored in a group of bronzes from the 1930s are especially inspirational to Curry in his use of organic, balanced forms. 

Kristi Lippire (b. 1974 in Honolulu; resides in Los Angeles): Kristi Lippire reclaims banal, everyday materials and uses them to create playful, tongue-in-cheek works of art. Whether she is making a bundle of balloons out of concrete and steel or using steel colanders to create a flock of fluttering geese, her works are filled with a whimsical sense of humor that recalls Calder.

Jason Meadows (b. 1972 in Indianapolis, Indiana; resides in Los Angeles): In his work, Jason Meadows uses common materials to depict iconic subjects. He also explores the idea of functionality, reconfiguring or re-creating everyday objects from decidedly unsophisticated materials in ways that deny their implied purpose.

Jason Middlebrook (b. 1966 in Jackson, Michigan; resides in Craryville, New York): Jason Middlebrook explores notions of waste, refuse, and reuse. A versatile artist, Middlebrook makes sculptures, drawings, and site-specific installations that address our relationship to the natural landscape. 



Alexander Calder, 10 - 5 - 4, 1958; Painted sheet metal and steel; Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas (1977.A.09); © 2010 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Photo: David Heald

Alexander Calder, Little Face, c.1943; Copper wire, thread, glass, wood; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Ruth Horwich Family Loan (EL1995.6); © 2010 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Nathan Carter, RADAR REFLECTOR ORIGIN PETIT CALIVIGNY GRENADA, 2009; Steel, plastic, galvanized wire, aluminum, rubber, enamel paint; Courtesy of the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York

Kristi Lippire, 3rd and Broadway, 2010; Steel, vinyl, and enamel paint sculpture; Courtesy of the artist

Jason Meadows, Pig Latin, 2008; Painted wood and welded wrought iron, steel, rebar; Courtesy of the artist and Mark Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles 

Aaron Curry, Deft Composition (Deft Composition), 2009; Wood stain and silkscreen ink on wood and steel; Private Collection, courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York; Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

Abraham Cruzvillegas, Bougie du Isthmus, 2005; Fishing rods, scarves, and wire grill; Collection Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, restricted gift of Collectors' Forum in memory of Phil Shorr (2006.22); © 2005 Abraham Cruzvillegas; Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Jason Middlebrook, The Green and White Warbler, 2008; Acrylic on wood, steel, cast concrete plastic bottles; Courtesy of the artist and Sara Meltzer Gallery, New York; Photo: Hermann Feldhaus


Exhibition Credits

Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and curated by Lynne Warren. The Orange County Museum of Art presentation is organized by OCMA director Dennis Szakacs and Fatima Manalili, curatorial associate.


The exhibition is sponsored by The Northern Trust Company.

Lead foundation support is provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Chicago Community Trust.

Major support for the exhibition is generously provided by the Kenneth and Anne Griffin Foundation.

Additional generous support is provided by Margot and George Greig, Anne and Burt Kaplan, Ruth Horwich, The Broad Art Foundation, Gagosian Gallery, Lindy Bergman, Helyn Goldenberg, Sara Szold, and The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation. 

Major support for the Orange County Museum of Art presentation is provided by Jean and Tim Weiss, the Segerstrom Foundation, Cindy and Steve Fry, and Pamela and James Muzzy

Significant gifts are provided by the Beall Family Foundation, Barbara and Victor L. Klein, Patricia Ellis, Jana and Terry Hackett, and in loving memory of Trey Hunter, artist and impassioned admirer of all things artistic.