The Red Feather - Louisville, KY
Posted by: vhasler
N 38° 15.426 W 085° 45.524
16S E 608600 N 4235069
Quick Description: In the style of hanging mobiles, but on the ground. This red feather is appropriate for a city which roots for the Cardinals.
Location: Kentucky, United States
Date Posted: 2/21/2009 5:53:05 AM
Waymark Code: WM5WKA
From The Kentucky Center webpage
, we learn the following:
Alexander Calder, the son and grandson of sculptors, first trained as an engineer at the Stevens Institute of Technology. He was self-taught as a sculptor. Exposure to the works of Joan Miro and the Surrealists in Paris in the late 1920s and early 1930s provided a liberating influence. From toy-like wire figures he evolved a style of suspended, wind driven abstract forms which he called "mobiles." Monumental grounded steel sculptures, like The Red Feather, came later in Calder's career and were termed "stabiles."
Although its four profiled planes stand firmly perpendicular to the ground, the illusion of motion pervades all of Calder's work. The shapes are joined at oblique angles, skewing the viewer's expectations. As one walks around the sculpture, its great wings and half-moons seem to billow and swell, coming in and out of view in unexpected perspectives. Its two colors of red and black aid in this sense of animation and provide an exuberant accent to the sculpture's emphatic curves. Calder masks the careful calculation of his sculpture's shifting spatial patterns through his underlying humor and witty suggestion in The Red Feather of some enormous, gawking bird-like creature. The sculptor walks a fine line between description and evocation, leaving the final definition of what The Red Feather depicts to each individual's imagination.
Calder's engineering background is apparent in the construction of bolted steel plate, the same heavy gauge used in ships' hulls, bridges and boilers. The bolts and connecting struts tell exactly how and why The Red Feather stands upright, where extra stability was needed and how it comes apart and is put together. Painted so it won't rust and can be easily maintained, its forthright fabrication is in contrast to The Red Feather's beguiling complexity.
Title: The Red Feather
Artist: Alexander Calder
Media (materials) used: Black and red painted steel
Location (specific park, transit center, library, etc.): In front of The Kentucky Center for Performing Arts
Date of creation or placement: 1975
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