Posts tagged ‘Alexander Calder’

Constructive Spirit at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas

Mary Kate O’Hare, Associate Curator of American Art, Newark Musuem discusses the exhibition Constructive Spirit at the Amon Carter Museum of Art.

This past June I spent a wonderful week at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas.  I was there to install the exhibition I organized, Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s-50s, which was on view at the Newark Museum, February 17 – May 23, 2010.

 My first day there we installed the Newark Museum’s mobile by Alexander Calder, Triple Gong, at the entrance to the Amon Carter.  It was a painstaking process to unpack and hang the mobile.  In the pictures you will see the excellent team of Amon Carter registrars, designers and installers who were involved in installing the piece.  Once it was up the mobile seemed to literally spring to life, happy to be back in the air.  It whirled so forcefully that the gongs dinged several times, filling the space with lovely random chimes.  It was a great way to start the installation of the show.

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 One of the really gratifying experiences of this trip was to see the exhibition in new ways.  While some of the groupings of works were similar to the Newark installation, there were several key differences.  For example, instead of arranging one full wall of urban-themed photographs as I had done in Newark, at the Amon Carter I decided to display the photographs next to paintings that explored a similar theme.  While I loved the all-photo wall at Newark, I was very pleased with the way the Amon Carter layout suggested deep resonances between photographers and painters who were inspired by the geometries of their respective contemporary urban environments. 

 The lay out of the temporary exhibition galleries at the Amon Carter also allowed us to reorder the thematic sections within the exhibition.  At Newark the section of Constructive Spirit that considered the influence of indigenous art on North and South American abstraction was the last gallery encountered by visitors, but at the Amon Carter this section comes second. I was thrilled to see how the works in theses two sections really connected and introduced new “conversations;” in many cases a shared interest in the architectonics and structure of the compositions suggested connections I hadn’t focused on in the Newark installation. 

 If you find yourself in the Dallas-Fort Worth area this month be sure to stop by the Amon Carter!  Constructive Spirit closes there on September 5.  After that all the works in the exhibition will return to their owners so be sure to checkout the Picturing America galleries this autumn to reconnect with some of your favorite works from Newark’s collection – like Calder’s Triple Gong and Arshile Gorkey’s Aerial Map – when they go back on view.

To learn more about Constructive Spirit, view the exhibition’s podcast.

For more information, visit

August 26, 2010 at 10:46 am 2 comments

International symposium brings prominent scholars to Newark Museum

The Newark Museum and the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros present Dialogues in South and North American Abstraction, an important international symposium that explores the conceptual and aesthetic parallels that linked artists across the Americas during the first half of the twentieth century.  The free symposium will be held on Saturday, April 10, 2010 from 10 am to 5 pm in the Billy Johnson Auditorium at the Newark Museum. Pre-registration is required; call 973-596-6550 or e-mail:

The panelists, a distinguished group of both emerging and established scholars, will explore a diversity of issues as seen in the work of individual artists. These include John Ferren, Juan Melé, Charles Biederman, Alexander Calder, Carlos Raúl Villanueva, Josef Albers, and Lygia Pape, all of whom are represented in the Newark Museum’s major exhibition Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s–50s. The symposium brings to life the artists’ own call for exchange with each other in order to transcend national and geographical borders.                             


Introduction: “We Beg for Exchange”   Mary Kate O’Hare, Associate Curator of American Art, Newark Museum, and Curator, Constructive Spirit

Identity/Crisis: John Ferren’s Early Transnationalism  Marshall Price, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, National Academy Museum, New York City

 Abstraction on the Edge: The Structured Frame in Argentina, 1944–48  Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, Director, Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York and Caracas

Charles Biederman and the Colors of Light  Susan C. Larsen, Consulting Curator, Clinton Hill/Allen Tran Foundation, Rancho Mirage, California

 “Sensitive and non-discursive things”: Lygia Pape’s Tecelares Series, 1955–59 Adele Nelson, Doctoral Candidate, New York University, New York City

 Josef Albers: From North Carolina to Mexico and Beyond  Brenda Danilowitz, Chief Curator, The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany, Connecticut

 Villanueva and Calder: The Politics and Poetics of a Dialogue, Monica Amor, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History, Theory and Criticism, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore

 Roundtable Discussion with Presenters, moderated by Mary Kate O’Hare

 For more information, including abstracts of papers, please visit

This symposium is held in conjunction with the Newark Museum’s exhibition Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s –50s, which is on view through May 23, 2010.  Constructive Spirit, the first exhibition to bring together South American and U.S. geometric abstraction, provides a fresh and innovative look at a dynamic and cosmopolitan period of modernism in the Americas. It includes many never-exhibited works from the Newark Museum’s preeminent collection of U.S. art, along with a variety of loans from public and private collections throughout the hemisphere, including the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York and Caracas; Malba-Costantini Foundation, Buenos Aires; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Included is work by such renowned artists as Alexander Calder, Joaquín Torres-García, Jesús Rafael Soto, Gyula Kosice, and Arshile Gorky, as well as artists who are less well-known but deserve much greater recognition, including Charmion von Wiegand, Geraldo de Barros, Lidy Prati, and many others.

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April 1, 2010 at 11:16 am Leave a comment

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