Over winter break, my family and I went to check out the Alexander Calder exhibit at the National Gallery of Art in Tower 2. Of course, Calder’s 85-foot work* has graced the atrium of the NGA since the 70s. (Paul Matisse, grandson of Henri Matisse, helped him enlarge his original concept, and it was finally installed in 1977, a year after Calder’s death.)

*Calder is known for his mobiles. You can check out a history of mobiles, here.

The Tower 2 exhibit showcases many of his works (the largest Calder exhibit in the world, actually) and includes some of his oil paintings.

[These pieces may be of particular interest to Maury students, because some were inspired by Piet Mondrian, an artist who Ms. Bomba introduces her students to regularly.]

My 12 year old, as well as my 5 year old niece and 8 year old nephew enjoyed the exhibit.

And, I learned that Alexander, or Sandy, as my great-grandmother called him, used to let my grandfather play with his models during the time they all happened to be living in Paris.

Calder’s atrium piece, seen here with an uncooperative 12 year old and tiny background humans, to demonstrate the sheer size

A mobile from the Tower 2 exhibit.

In our time at the NGA, I also stumbled across this piece, by Glenn Ligon. It is his Untitled (I Am a Man), referencing the signs carried by 1,300 striking African-American sanitation workers in the 60s. Their signs were a nod to Ralph Ellison’s prologue in “Invisible Man”. 


You can read more about this iconic piece, here


Ligon has several pieces at the NGA and are well-worth a trip to celebrate this artist during BHM.