Whitney’s “Calder: Hypermobility” Channels Jewelry’s Latest Trend

In What's New, Industry News by Lauren Parker, Accessories Magazine

Calder: Hypermobility

Installation view of “Calder: Hypermobility.” Photograph by Ron Amstutz. Courtesy: Whitney Museum of American Art.

Thinking of where to wear the latest interlocking hoop earrings and modular floating necklaces? Head down ASAP to the Whitney Museum of American Art to see Calder: Hypermobility. Calder, aka the king of the kinetic, became famous for his moving mobiles in the 1930s, but a current jewelry trend has made his works more relevant than ever.

Interestingly, both fashion and fine jewelry designers have jumped on this trend, illustrating that there are no boundaries to high-end jewelry when it’s truly a work of art. Semiprecious stones, pearls and even diamonds dress up the metal and add an upscale touch. Here, a look at some jewelry that’s truly Calder-esque:

Fine jewelry from TARA (The Artisan Row Accessories) is completely modular, meaning the user can assemble a super-long single earring that floats and moves, only to take it apart later to attach to a collar.  While pieces are buildable, the site also sells pre-assembled “studio favorites” for those who need some styling assistance.

TARA w LOGO from Annette Lasala on Vimeo.

Jenny Bird

Jenny Bird

Neckpieces from Jenny Bird moves just like a mobile, featuring concentric circles hanging from a collar. The mixture of hard and soft creates a kinetic energy not unlike Calder’s pieces.

Jenny Bird

Jenny Bird


Calder’s show is all about movement. “Encompassing a vast array of engineered forms, Calder’s artistic practice transformed the parameters of artmaking through an unceasing exploration of movement and sound,” says Whitney curator Jay Sanders. “As its title suggests, Calder: Hypermobility gathers important objects to reveal specifically the diverse taxonomy of movements within Calder’s work.” This selection of works draws inspiration from Calder’s notion of “disparity” – a term the artist used to describe the complex variation and disjuncture of forms, colors, densities, and movements within a single work.”

Calder: Hypermobility

Alexander Calder (1898–1976), Hanging Spider, c. 1940. Painted sheet metal and wire, 49 1/2 × 35 1/2 in. (125.7 × 90.2 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art. © 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photograph by Brian Kelley.

Amanda Pearl floating pearl bracelet

This unique pearl bracelet by Amanda Pearl ($650) features Tahitian pearls that hug the wrist. While the pearls don’t necessarily move like a Calder mobile, they do “float” on the wrist like one.

Peggy Li

Jewelry designer Peggy Li has a Calder Geo collection, featuring triangles and other angular shapes that move with the wearer. The lightweight earrings dangle approximately 4-inches long. “I love the way these have angles that seem to go every which way, yet remains sophisticated and modern,” says Li.

Paige Novick

Paige Novick’s curved bar single statement earring with pearl accent ($1,330), captures the asymmetrical essence of Calder’s mobile. The perfect earring for a “gallerista” at an art opening.

Calder: Hypermobility

Alexander Calder (1898-1976), Parasite, 1947. Sheet metal, rod, wire, and paint, 41 × 68 × 28 in. (104.1 × 172.7 × 71.1 cm). © 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Calder: Hypermobility includes Calder’s early motor-driven abstractions and wall panels with suspended active elements, as well as his sound-generating Gongs and standing and hanging mobiles, among others. Newly restored motorized sculptures will be activated for the first time in 80  channeling Calder’s fascination with choreography. His moving and even stationary sculptures are staged to truly perform.

Carolina Bucci

Carolina Bucci’s Florentine Multi-Link earrings on French Wire ($934) features unique textured gold that captures the light with movement. “Our signature Florentine Finish is achieved by beating each piece with a diamond tipped tool, which leaves permanent faceted dents in the gold,” notes the company.

Calder Hypermobility

Alexander Calder (1898–1976), Aluminum Leaves, Red Post, 1941. Painted sheet metal, 60 3/4 × 40 3/4 × 42 1/2 in. (154.3 × 103.5 × 108 cm).  © 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photograph by Brian Kelley

See you at the Whitney!

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