Exquisite mobile by Alexander Calder
I went to a wonderful exhibit recently at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I toured the display of Alexander Calder’s airy, spellbinding mobiles and was transported to a fairyland. For those few moments, I forgot about the crushing heat here in Los Angeles, California; my personal issues and anxieties; and the world and its demands. I hung out with Calder’s gifts to us all. The mobiles float, they waver, they tremble like the fragile human beings we all are.
Each was a jewel in its own right and was accompanied by a description, some poetic, which set the stage for the awe and amazement the work inspired. One I remember in particular had a vivid narrative written by Jean-Paul Sartre in 1963 after a visit to Calder’s studio. He described the magical mobiles he saw as lyrical, technical, and mathematical symbols of nature, unable to ascertain if they were a result of cause and effect or the evolution of an idea.
Calder, who studied mathematical engineering as a young man, died in 1976. I was in my thirties then.
The lesson I took away: enjoy the natural and man-made beauty around you. It transports you for an instant and enables you to take shelter from that hurricane that is your life and focus on something other than your own, self-involved self.
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