A ‘sanctuary’ devoted to Alexander Calder will open in Philadelphia

Calder with Giraffe (1941) in Roxbury, Connecticut, 1941 Courtesy of Calder Foundation, New York / Art Resource, New York. Artist Copyright: © 2020 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York. Photo: Herbert Matter © 2020 Calder Foundation, New York

The Calder Foundation has announced that it will inaugurate a “sanctuary” devoted to the work of Alexander Calder in downtown Philadelphia, with construction due to begin in 2021. The as-yet untitled non-profit institution will be “a place to visit Calders work and a space that allows people to be introspective”, says Alexander Rower, the chairman and president of the foundation and Calders grandson.

The centre will be constructed on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, adjacent to the Rodin Museum and the Barnes Foundation, and the building will be designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron. On the holistic vision of the space, Rower says that “the closest analogy is perhaps the Rothko Chapel—a cool building made with a great architect where you can do your daily meditation, if thats what youre into, or just have the chance to be with the work and not feel like youre in the Met or the Barnes, where theres so much art that its overwhelming”.

The foundation and the architect Jacques Herzog aim to create a space that offers an experience thats not strictly museological. “In our first discussion, Herzog said the concept sounded like a sanctuary, and thats the perfect word to describe it,” Rower says. “Another comparison would be the Cloisters or the Rodin Museum, but, unlike these spaces, we dont want it to feel like a mausoleum—it shouldnt feel dead, it should feel alive and bring you closer to that communication that Calder intended, which isnt the rarified experience of the museum.”

He adds, “The site is also exceptional and a fun concept—theres Rodin, the greatest sculptor of the 19th century, then right across from it theres the greatest sculptor of the 20th century,” Rower says.

La Grande vitesse (1:5 intermediate maquette), 1969 Courtesy of theCalder Foundation, New York / Art Resource, New York Artist. Copyright: © 2020 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Ken Adlard

Plans for a tribute to Calder in Philadelphia, where the artist was born in 1898, began around two decades ago, when the project was imagined as a full-scale museum on the same site. “Ultimately the project was unsuccessful then because of funding but I also had great worries about a museum being functionally active long-term,” Rower says. Around a year ago, Read More – Source

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