More than just mobiles: Alexander Calder's varied work on display at New York's MOMA

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(Reuters) - Known for his popular mobiles, the wide-ranging body of work by late artist Alexander Calder is now on display at the Museum of Modern Art in (MOMA) in New York City.

The exhibition, titled "Alexander Calder: Modern from the Start," draws on the rich and varied holdings MOMA has by the American artist.

Cara Manes, curator of the exhibition, said her aim was to show how varied and experimental the artist was.

"I think many of us can just close our eyes and imagine a Calder," said Manes. "What I hope this exhibition will show is how multifaceted and varied his practice was."

Born in Pennsylvania in 1898 and trained as an engineer, Calder, whose father and grandfather were also sculptors, moved to Paris in the 1920s.

There, he came under the influence of avant-garde and abstract artists like Fernand Leger, Joan Miro and Marcel Duchamp, who coined the word "mobiles" to describe Calder's constructions.

"Simply put, it's a sculpture that moves," said Manes.

Calder later moved back to the United States and worked out of his studio in Roxbury, Connecticut. He died in 1976.

From large, sheet metal sculptures bolted together, to tiny hanging wire caricatures called "stabiles," the MOMA exhibition offers new insight into the resourceful and creative artist.

"His work doesn't easily fit into what we now come to know as very much more rigid categories of art history," said Manes.

"Some are figurative, some are abstract. He really straddles these spheres and does so sometimes in the same work."

Manes said the relationship between Calder and MOMA started in 1930, just one year after the museum opened, and continued for more than four decades.

The exhibition draws on MOMA's collection with some additional works on loan from the Calder Foundation.

"Alexander Calder: Modern from the Start" will be on display from March 14 to Aug. 7, 2021.

(Reporting by Soren Larson; editing by Diane Craft and Rosalba O'Brien)