On 14 May, after having been closed in order to undergo a massive expansion, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will reopen to the public for the first time in three years. Designed by internationally renowned architecture firm Snøhetta, the building will accommodate an unprecedented loan to the museum, by the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection, of 260 works of art for the next ninety-nine years. One of the greatest private American collections of modern and contemporary art, it includes over forty works by Alexander Calder—more than by any other artist.
Among the inaugural exhibitions at the new SFMOMA will be Alexander Calder: Motion Lab, the first in a series of presentations to focus solely on the artist as part of a permanent rotating Calder gallery. Featuring eleven works from the Fisher collection, the show will include Quattro Pendular, a rare wall sculpture from 1943 that has not been on public view in thirty-five years. Other highlights are the delicate wire sculpture Aquarium (1929), with an ingenious mechanism that allows its fish to “swim,” and Eighteen Numbered Black (1953), an expansive, arboreal hanging mobile whose elements Calder numbered in order to provide guidance for correct assembly.
Three of Calder’s monumental sculptures from the 1960s—two stabiles and one standing mobile—will grace terraces adjacent to the gallery. One of these, Trois discuss (intermediate maquette, 1967), is the 1:5-scale model for the immense public sculpture Calder made for the International Nickel Company on the occasion of the 1967 World Expo in Montreal. Also premiering in the museum’s atrium is Untitled (1963), a grand mobile painted all in white, originally commissioned by the Connecticut Bank & Trust Company.
This designated gallery continues SFMOMA’s longstanding dedication to Calder’s work. In addition to the Fisher loan, the museum has several fine examples of the artist’s work in its own collection, and it was the second and final host venue to the seminal 1998 Calder retrospective organized by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Alexander Calder: Motion Lab will be on view through 10 September 2017.