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Calder Calling

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Best known for his abstract mobiles (an art form he’s credited with inventing) and swooping, geometric sculptures, Alexander Calder had a more delicate artistic fascination he returned to throughout his career: jewelry making. Opening today through March 1 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is Calder Jewelry, the first major exhibition dedicated wholly to the artist’s wearable art. Working primarily in brass, silver, and gold, Calder was an early adopter of the found-object trend in jewelry design, adorning his pieces with beach glass, ceramic shards, and wood. The 90 pieces on display are a small sample of the close to 1,800 necklaces, cuffs, earrings, and brooches he created throughout his lifetime. The designs are sculptural, to be sure, but they are whimsical and, for a woman with moxie, wearable. (Not for sale, sadly, but that’s what Art Basel was for, right?) For a downtown complement to the wearable art trend, Zerocarat opens at the Friedman Benda gallery in Chelsea this Thursday. Zerocarat (get it?) features jewelry from artists and architects—Louise Bourgeois, Anish Kapoor, and Kenny Scharf among them. The show will be on view until January 9, 2009.

Photo: Courtesy of Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Dept. of Culture