Denver Botanic Gardens’ survey of iconic American artist Alexander Calder’s bold sculptures – Calder: Monumental – is on view April 28 – September 24, 2017 at the Gardens’ York Street location.
It is the first outdoor show of Calder’s work in the west and the first solo outdoor exhibition in the U.S. in more than a decade.
Calder devoted much of his later working years to monumental sculptures, many of which were public commissions. Gracing public plazas, landmark atriums and even airport halls, Calder’s works transformed the surrounding space, definitively changing the public’s experience of it. True to his practice, Calder’s monumental works are made of industrial materials and bolted steel plates, and the works exhibited in Calder: Monumental are no exception. In some cases, a mobile structure sways at the top of the sculpture to create a “standing mobile.” In addition to the outdoor sculptures, one indoor mobile in monumental scale is presented in the Boettcher Memorial Center, on loan from the Denver Art Museum. The featured abstract and figurative sculptures span from 1956–1976.
RELATED PROGRAMS admission to the Gardens included | registration: botanicgardens.org
LECTURE | Calder: From Miniature Circus to Monumental Sculpture
Speaker: Alfred Pacquement, guest curator of Calder: Monumental and former director of Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Georges Pompidou
Friday, April 28, 6 p.m.
$25, $20 member
Alfred Pacquement, guest curator of Calder: Monumental, details the life and career of this American master. Pacquement was Director of the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Georges Pompidou from 2000-2013. He is an independent curator and cultural consultant, responsible for numerous exhibitions, including Calder at the Rijksmuseum, 2014.
FAMILY | Calder for Kids: Family Drop-in Art Exploration
Select mornings, June through August
Free with admission; while supplies last.
Families can discover how art intersects with nature while exploring the exhibition. Learn about the artist and his creative process as you make a work of art to take home. Recommended for families with children ages 5-12.
TOUR | Curator Conversations
Select Thursdays, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
$17, $15 member, $13 student
Tour and discuss the Calder: Monumental exhibition with a curator from the Gardens to gain valuable insight about the artist, his work and the development of the exhibition.
TOUR | Docent Tour
May – September: Fri, Sat & Sun, 9:30-10:30 a.m.; Sat, 6-7 p.m.
$14, $12 member, $10 student
Explore the iconic works of American artist Alexander Calder with a knowledgeable docent as your guide. Observe how Calder’s sculptures take on a new life in their garden surroundings and learn more about the artist.
LECTURE | Calder: Connected to the Contemporary
Speaker: Lynne Warren, Curator at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Thursday, June 8, 6 p.m.
$25, $20 member
Curator Lynne Warren presents examples that demonstrate the effect Alexander Calder has had on artists working today. Warren curated the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s exhibition Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy, authoring a book by the same name. She has written more than 30 exhibition catalogs and has taught courses at prominent Chicago universities.
CLASS | Easy Drawing in the Gardens
Saturday, June 10, July 8, August 19, and September 9, 2-4 p.m.
$44, $36 member
Make drawing easier and more enjoyable by learning the basics of perspective, composition control and the use of reference points and lines. This approach can be sculptural in nature, starting with a large and basic composition and finishing with details. After classroom instruction, students move outdoors and practice the techniques by drawing and sketching in the Gardens.
FAMILY | Garden Art Family Workshop: Calder Inspired Planters
Saturday, June 17 and 24, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
$12 adult, $10 member adult, $17 non-member child, $15 member child
Embark on a journey of art and nature as a family while exploring the artwork of Alexander Calder in the Gardens. This hands-on workshop allows families to experience art in an inspiring and active way. Each child makes a planter inspired by the exhibition. Family Workshops are a great way for families to spend time together while discovering the beauty, diversity and importance of plants. Classes are designed for families with children ages 5-10.
KIDS | Summer Camp: Art in the Garden
June 26-30 and July 24-28, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
$270, $250 member
Awaken your passion for drawing, sculpting, painting, cooking, gardening and the art of science. Explore the art of Alexander Calder at the Gardens and uncover your artistic skills. Learn about the connections between plants and art through form, color and texture. Ages 6-12.
CLASS | Photographing Sculpture
Thursday, August 31, 6-8:30 p.m.
$44, $36 member
Calling all amateur photographers! Find the best vantage points and opportunities to photograph the Gardens’ Calder: Monumental exhibition. This class begins with classroom instruction and moves outside so students can practice new techniques.
FAMILY | Homeschool Day: Art Exploration
Monday, August 28, 10 a.m. — 2 p.m.
$12 child; $7 each additional adult and non-participating sibling over the age of two.
Journey through art and nature while engaging in a garden-wide exploration of the Calder: Monumental exhibition. Explore how art and science work together and make a work of art inspired by the exhibition. Homeschool Days offer families the opportunity to explore plant-based themes through a variety of hands-on activities, tours and take-home projects. Activities are designed for children ages five and up, however all ages are welcome to attend.
MORE ABOUT THE EXHIBITION AND ARTIST
Calder: Monumental is guest curated by Alfred Pacquement, Honorary Director, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou in Paris, and organized in conjunction with the Calder Foundation, New York. Lenders to the exhibition include: Calder Foundation, Denver Art Museum, Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Museum of Fine Arts Houston and Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.
Alexander Calder (1898–1976) is celebrated as a titan of modern sculpture. He first gained recognition in the 1920s in Paris for his work of performance art Cirque Calder (1926–31). At the same time, Calder invented wire sculpture, moving volumes that could be seen from all angles. After turning to abstraction in 1930, Calder invented another new form of sculpture, the “mobile,” so-termed by artist Marcel Duchamp. As Calder’s renown grew, he received commissions from cities and museums around the world for monumental sculptures of the type exhibited at the Gardens, making Calder the first truly international artist – as well as one of the first to embrace public sculpture as an important element of civic life.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, UMB Bank, Ace Hardware and the citizens who support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD).
Denver Botanic Gardens’ York Street location presents a diverse series of art exhibitions. All of the exhibitions, excluding Calder: Monumental, are presented in Gates Garden Court Gallery and feature artists who live and work in Colorado. All exhibitions are included with Gardens’ general admission.
Edible: Botanical Art and Illustration
Through February 12
Botanical art and illustration is the centuries-old tradition of portraying plants for scientific purposes and capturing the beauty of the natural world. This annual juried exhibition from the Gardens’ School of Botanical Art & Illustration features the students’ best achievements in a variety of media. The theme for this show is edible plants and highlights the artists’ technical skill and botanical knowledge. Image credit: Meredith Feniak, Swiss Chard Celebration, 2016.
Elusive: Works by Andrew Roberts-Gray
February 22 – May 14
Carbondale, Colorado-based artist Andrew Roberts-Gray combines formal abstraction, the painted landscape, and areas of unpainted canvas to create dynamic works that defy traditional genre. His work hovers between painterly abstraction and sculptural space, peppered with symbolic elements. This exhibition of recent mixed-media works feature a silver and white palette to compliment the gallery’s concrete walls and is organized in collaboration with Michael Warren Contemporary, Denver. Image credit: Andrew Roberts-Gray, Truth, 2016.
April 28 – September 24
Press preview Thursday, April 27, 10 a.m. Invitation to follow
American artist Alexander Calder (1898-1976) is considered one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century and is known for his bold energetic sculptures. Calder: Monumental features these iconic works of bolted steel plate–which rise in sweeping curves, or puncture space with geometric lines–revealing the artist’s exploration of forms, volumes, and voids. Using shapes that resonate with the natural world, Calder’s large lively abstractions interact with the surrounding outdoor landscape. Image credit: Alexander Calder, Funghi Neri, 1957. Sheet metal, bolts, and paint, 112″ x 91″ x 72″. © 2016 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Calder Foundation, New York/ Art Resource, New York.
Color: Works by Teresa Booth Brown
May 24 – August 6
Public reception: May 24, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Artist Talk: 6:30 p.m.
Teresa Booth Brown’s paintings are said to be at once interior, diagram, landscape, architecture, still life and abstraction. The Longmont, Colorado-based artist uses painting as a chance to make order out of chaos. Each painting begins with a collage layer followed by the addition and subtraction of layers of paint and drawing. This exhibition of new work is organized in collaboration with Michael Warren Contemporary, Denver. Image credit: Teresa Booth Brown, Incandescent (detail), 2016.
Play: Works by Pattie Lee Becker
August 16 – November 5
Public reception: Aug. 16, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Artist Talk: 6:30 p.m.
The free-flowing narratives of Denver artist, Pattie Lee Becker, feature fiction-myths within a vibrant and characteristic color palette of fine-line drawings and curious soft sculptures. Pattern-rich, highly detailed and playful explorations showcase her process-based dream improvisations. The exhibition will feature new work. Image credit: Pattie Lee Becker, Process and Communicate, 2012.
Whimsy: Botanical Art and Illustration
November 19, 2017 – February 11, 2018
Public reception: Nov. 19, 1-3 p.m.
This annual juried exhibition from the School of Botanical Art & Illustration features the students’ best achievements. At the same time that artists are drawing on technical skill, they also rely on botanical knowledge. Selections focus on the unusual, often blending scientific documentation and fantasy. Image credit: Susan Dimarchi, Cockscomb, 2016
DALE CHIHULY EXHIBIT
As the Chihuly exhibition comes to a close at Denver Botanic Gardens (on view through November 30), we are pleased to announce – through the generosity of private donors including Robert and Judi Newman and the RC Kemper Charitable Trust, UMB Bank, n.a., Trustee – a Chihuly work of art will be added to the Gardens’ permanent collection. The new work, part of the Tower series, will be installed in the Ellipse garden and called “Colorado.” It will be comprised of approximately 700 hand-blown glass elements and stand over 11 feet tall. Installation will take place in December.
Brian Vogt, Denver Botanic Gardens CEO says, “We will never forget this extraordinary year and the outpouring of enthusiasm for the combination of Chihulyand the Gardens. Now, we will have the opportunity to relive this unique and dynamic fusion long into the future.”
“I am so pleased that a significant work of art will be added to Denver BotanicGardens’ permanent collection,” says artist Dale Chihuly. “It is such a beautifulgarden and such a great city – my thanks to Brian Vogt for helping make the exhibition such a success and to the donors for their generosity and the honor of this permanent installation.”
Donors share enthusiasm for the gift. Robert and Judi Newman say, “We are thrilled and honored to provide the lead gift for the legacy piece which will commemorate theGardens’ monumental and stunning Chihuly exhibition. Dale Chihuly’s work easily transforms any space and engages viewers in unique ways that merge science and art. We love it!”
The Kemper family has a long history with the Gardens and Dale Chihuly. Mariner Kemper, Chairman and CEO, UMB Financial Corporation says, “It was only natural for us to help bring a permanent Chihuly artwork to the Gardens. Giving back to the community and supporting the arts has always been a focus for our family and we hope the citizens of Denver enjoy the piece for years to come.”
Chihuly used a red, orange and yellow color pallet as it reminded him of the beautiful skies and sunsets he has enjoyed during his visits to Denver. He drew inspiration for this new work from one of his most challenging outdoor installations, Icicle Creek Chandelier, a permanent outdoor installation he did in 1996 at Sleeping Lady Resort in Leavenworth, Washington. Installed on a granite rock, the chandelier is a permanent reminder of how a work of art can be framed in nature and find harmony within in it. Like Icicle Creek Chandelier, “Colorado” will be designed to sustain similar outdoor weather conditions.
ABOUT DALE CHIHULY
Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the country, at the University of Wisconsin. He continued studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he later established the glass program and taught for more than a decade.
In 1968, after receiving a Fulbright Fellowship, he went to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice, Italy. There he observed the team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to the way he works today. In 1971, Chihuly cofounded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington. With this international glass center, Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art.
His work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide. He has been the recipient of many awards, including 12 honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Photo credits: Dale Chihuly, Blue and Purple Boat (detail), 2006. New York Botanical Garden, The Bronx, New York.Dale Chihuly, Saffron Tower, 2006, Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, 2008. Dale Chihuly, Red Reeds, 2008, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2010. Dale Chihuly, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, Florida, 2006