Concrete Monuments

Concrete Monuments

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In 1944, Calder received another challenging commission. Architect Wallace K. Harrison suggested that Calder sculpt large outdoor works in concrete for an International Style building. The sculptures would be at the entrance of the building and stand 10-12 meters high. They also had to be made of concrete, a material with which Calder had never worked before.

As Calder recalled in his autobiography:
“Wally Harrison had suggested I make some large outdoor objects which could be done in cement. He apparently forgot about his suggestion immediately, but I did not and I started to work in plaster. I finally made things which were mobile objects and had them cast in bronze acrobats, animals, snakes, dancers, a starfish, and tightrope performers.”

These bronzes are in front of you. If you stop to look at them, you will see how the elements are in balance. The projections of the screens show you the bronzes in motion. Can you imagine all of them moving at the same time? And can you imagine if these sculptures were taller than this room? Shocking, isn’t it?
In 1956, Chase Manhattan Bank approached Calder about creating large sculpture for the front of their building. Although Chase Bank did not go forward with Calder’s proposal, the models that you see now by the window and that he cast for himself show Calder’s working process.

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