Synopsis by Sarah Welsh
The Philadelphia-born sculptor Alexander Calder had the idea for mobile art while sitting in Mondrian's kinetic, loudly colored studio. Calder was living in Paris at the time, making contacts and soaking up the cutting-edge French art scene. He began experimenting with hand-cranked and motorized sculpture, as well as abstract pieces that oscillated naturally in open air -- "mobiles," as friend and fellow artist Marcel Duchamp called them. Today, visitors to the National Gallery of Art can view Calder's last and greatest mobile -- a wondrous, spindly structure that has 12 arms, 13 panels, and weighs 900 pounds yet turns effortlessly around its axes. Mobile: by Alexander Calder, which traces the making of this singular sculpture from its conception all the way through construction and installation, is a whimsical and heartfelt tribute to one of the greatest figures in modern art.