NEW YORK—Nahmad Contemporary is pleased to present Every Kind of Wind, Calder and the 21st Century, on view from November 3, 2022, through January 28, 2023. Organized by guest curator Kelly Taxter in collaboration with the Calder Foundation, the exhibition showcases the pioneering role Alexander Calder (1898–1976) played to carve out essential space for innovative artistic approaches and methodologies. Calder invented the mobile nearly 100 years ago. In its indeterminacy and implication of the audience in constituting the artwork, the mobile set the stage for a range of radical developments in 20th-century art that continue to unfold. Calder’s endless curiosity about sculpture’s fundamental properties—material, weight, and scale—yielded an unprecedented break with tradition that was as much about the medium as it was about perception. In one of the artist’s few statements about his work, Calder expressed that this exchange did have some boundaries, writing, “I have made a number of things for the open air: all of them react to wind, and are like a sailing vessel in that they react best to one kind of breeze. It is impossible to make a thing work with every kind of wind.”
Every Kind of Wind, Calder and the 21st Century will show the importance and breadth of the artist’s practice with a selection of early wire sculptures and standing and hanging mobiles made throughout his career. Calder’s works will be presented in dialogue with five internationally based artists working today—Davide Balula, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Libby Heaney, Jakob Kudsk Steensen, and Analisa Teachworth—who are influenced by the myriad ecological, social, and political forces shaping the contemporary moment. Like Calder, whose innovations in the 1920s and 1930s overturned traditional boundaries, these contemporary artists not only privilege and embrace the possible but also elucidate the furthest edges of art-making by imagining the seemingly impossible.
Balula, Brathwaite-Shirley, Heaney, Steensen, and Teachworth engage virtual reality, artificial intelligence, gaming, deep listening, and even the nascent arena of quantum computing to create new art forms. They turn a critical eye on these platforms, striving to deepen and complicate their intrinsically interactive natures, underscoring how dependent new technologies still are on human intelligence while highlighting new and emergent forms of nonhuman sentience. Creating a dialogue between Calder’s work and the art of today, the exhibition reveals how the distinction between artist and viewer has become even more porous. It illuminates how the possibilities for human, interspecies, and machine collaborations have expanded, suggesting that much can be gained—and changed—with collective force.
Every Kind of Wind, Calder and the 21st Century is designed by Selldorf Architects and will be accompanied by a catalogue featuring new scholarship.
Alexander Calder (b. 1898, Lawnton, Pennsylvania; d. 1976, New York), whose illustrious career spanned much of the 20th century, is one of the most acclaimed and influential sculptors of our time. Born to a family of celebrated, though more classically trained artists, Calder utilized his innovative genius to profoundly change the course of modern art. In the 1920s, he developed a new method of sculpting: by bending and twisting wire, he “drew” three-dimensional figures in space. He is renowned for the invention of the mobile, whose suspended, abstract elements move and balance in changing harmony. By the 1950s, Calder increasingly devoted himself to making outdoor sculpture on a grand scale from bolted steel plate. Today, these stately titans grace public plazas in cities throughout the world.
Davide Balula (b.1978, Villa Dum Santo, Portugal) is a New York-based artist who regularly collaborates with artificial intelligence systems, poets, chefs, bacteria, dancers, musicians, fire-breathers, fungi, and pickpockets, among others, to create paintings, edibles, installations, and performances. He has had solo exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2018); the Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach (2016), Fondazione Carriero, Milan (2015); Confort Moderne, Poitiers, France (2008); Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Châteauroux and Bourges, France, Musée de l’Objet, Blois, France, and MuseumsQuartier, Vienna (2007); and Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne, France (2006). His work has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions internationally at institutions that include Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2018); Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, France, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, Germany, and Villa Medici, Rome (2017); Carré d’Art-Musée d’art contemporain, Nîmes, France (2015); Kunstverein Bielefeld, Germany, MoMA, New York, and Palazzo Cavour, Turin, Italy (2014); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2017, 2014); and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2013).
Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley (b. 1995, London) is an artist based in London and Berlin. They earned a Master of Arts from the Slade School of Fine Art, London, in 2018. Brathwaite-Shirley works predominantly in animation, sound, performance, and video game development. Their practice focuses on intertwining lived experience with fiction to imaginatively retell the stories of Black trans people. Brathwaite-Shirley’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions and performances at galleries and institutions such as David Kordansky Gallery, New York, Project Arts Centre, Ireland, and Skånes Konstförening, Malmö, Sweden (2022); Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, Arebyte Gallery, London, and QUAD, Derby, England (2021); and Focal Point Gallery, Science Gallery, MU Hybrid Art House, and Tate Modern (London, 2020). Their work has also been included in group exhibitions at a number of notable institutions, including Julia Stoschek Foundation, Berlin (2022); Münchner Kammerspiele, Munich (2019); Les Urbaines, Lausanne, Switzerland (2019); and Barbican, London (2018).
Libby Heaney is a London-based artist who holds a PhD in Quantum Information Science from the University of Leeds and MA in Art and Science from Central Saint Martins in London. Heaney’s work uses quantum computing as both a medium and subject matter to examine the ethics of technology within society and encourage the audience to engage in quantum thinking and feeling. In addition to being featured in solo exhibitions at Arebyte Gallery, London, Fiumano Clase, London, and Light Art Space, Berlin (2022); and Goethe-Institut, London (2019), her work has been included in group shows at Sónar Festival, Barcelona, and ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany (2021); Barbican, London, Institute of Contemporary Art, London, and MUTEK, Montreal (2019); Tate Modern, London (2019, 2016); and V&A, London (2018), to name a few.
Jakob Kudsk Steensen (b. 1987, Copenhagen) is a Berlin-based artist whose work takes the form of environmental storytelling through 3D animation, sound, and immersive installations. He earned a master’s degree in art from Copenhagen University in 2014. Steensen’s art has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions that include ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Denmark (2022); Light Art Space, Berlin (2021); Serpentine Galleries, London (2020); Pylon-Hub, Dresden (2019); Tranen, Copenhagen (2018); and Zabludowicz Collection 360 space, London (2018). He has been included in numerous group exhibitions at HEK (House of Electronic Arts), Basel, Luma Arles, France, and Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, France (2021); Centre Pompidou Auditorium, Paris, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, and MU, Eindhoven, the Netherlands (2020); and Den Frie, København, Denmark, PHI Centre, Montreal, and the Venice Biennale (2019).
Analisa Teachworth (b. 1987, Detroit) is an artist based in Berlin and New York City. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and studied at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Teachworth’s multidisciplinary practice includes sculpture, digital media, sound, and painting and ties personal experience and allegorical histories into a unique lexicon. She has been a guest lecturer at the Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art (2022). Her works have been exhibited in institutions and galleries such as Company Gallery, New York (2022); FRAGILE, Berlin and The Shed, New York (2019); MoMA PS1, New York (2018); Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2017); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2016); and the New Museum, New York (2015), to name a few.
Kelly Taxter (b. 1976, San Francisco) is a curator and writer based in New York. She was formerly the Barnett and Annalee Newman Curator of Contemporary Art at the Jewish Museum, New York, where she organized many exhibitions, including Jonas Mekas: The Camera Was Always Running (February 18–June 5, 2022) and After “The Wild”: Selections from the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation Collection (opening March 2023). Taxter earned a master’s degree from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, and a bachelor’s degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.
Annabelle Selldorf is the founding principal of Selldorf Architects in New York. She is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) and recipient of the 2016 AIA New York Medal of Honor. Among other Selldorf Architects projects, Annabelle's portfolio includes The Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego in La Jolla, The Frick Collection in New York, several buildings for the LUMA Foundation’s new contemporary art center in Arles France, and the transformation of a Fifth Avenue mansion to Neue Galerie New York.
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