Photo & Text Copyright 2009 Seattle Daily Photo. All rights reserved, including reproduction or republishing.
Two trains were passing in the railroad corridor that runs along the waterfront and through the Olympic Sculpture Park. Looking uphill past the roofs of the moving cars you can see Calder's Eagle and the city's iconic Space Needle. Alexander Calder made this 39 foot tomato red metal sculpture in 1971. The people of Seattle really seem to love this piece. Not long after its installation some local architects had some anonymous fun and fashioned tiny copies of the red abstract bird and placed them in a large nest underneath. Eagle has quite a checkered past, having been in Fort Worth, TX for many years, then temporarily loaned for one year to the Philadelphia Art Museum (which will soon open its own permanent Calder gallery across from it Rodin gallery). The generous Shirley family of Seattle purchased Eagle for about $10 million on behalf of SAM as the centerpiece of its Olympic Sculpture Park. It is clearly visible from West Seattle and always looks fabulous against a blue or gray or sunset sky.
The Seattle Art Museum's long anticipated "Alexander Calder: Balancing Act" exhibit will open on October 15, and run through next April. Our family have long been fans, especially of his mobiles, so I will be excited to see it. Calder hailed from Pennsylvania and was a college trained mechanical engineer from a renown artistic family and one of the most influential and innovative figures in 20th century art. What Calder pieces reside in a museum or public space near you?