Alexander Calder’s “Calder: Nonspace” in DTLA

This indoor/outdoor show celebrates the American sculptor's brilliant understanding of space

Alexander Calder is alive in Downtown LA‘s Hauser & Wirth through the brilliant Calder: Nonspace show—the beloved, departed artist’s first solo show in the city since 2013. The exhibition spans work from 1939 to 1976, including the brilliant artist’s mobiles and maquettes, free-standing structures and floating shapes. The title and thematic arc of the show is inspired by novelist James Jones’ notion of “nonspace” in relationship to Calder’s work, that his creations “are able to fill a given space without occupying it.”

The presentation functions accordingly: arranged to have pieces fill in blanks of the others through negative space and providing ways in which viewers can project shapes (and parts of themselves) through open space.

The exhibition is divided into two parts, each offering unique experiences of Calder. In the South Gallery, works drift around in a cloud as architect Stephanie Goto lowered ceilings, offering an ambient glow that nearly vibrates the primarily black pieces. In the open-air courtyard, Calder’s giant structures tower and teeter as they invite the city in, having a dialogue with literal clouds above.

As chairman and president of the Calder Foundation (and the artist’s grandson) Alexander SC Rower explains, “This is a strange show unlike any other Calder show you’ve ever seen.” It’s hard to disagree, particularly when Calder’s work is such a rarity in Los Angeles.

Calder: Nonspace is on view now through 6 January at Hauser & Wirth (901 E 3rd St, LA). The exhibition is displayed in conjunction with Zoe Leonard’s Analogue and Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto.

Images by Kyle Raymond Fitzpatrick