The term “mobile” was coined by French-American artist Marcel Duchamp to describe Calder’s moving sculptures. The word means both “motion” and “motive” in French. Calder estimated he made over 2,000 mobiles during his lifetime.
• What do you imagine this cat is thinking about? What is it about his expression or pose that makes you think that?
• Design your own mobile. What materials or objects would you use? Where would you hang it?
• Several of Calder's public sculptures and installations can be found not too far from the MCA. Check out Red Petals at The Arts Club of Chicago, the giant Flamingo in Federal Plaza, the installation Universe in the Willis Tower lobby, or Flying Dragon in the North Stanley McCormick Memorial Garden at the Art Institute of Chicago.
• Many artists have shown a renewed interest in Calder’s work. The MCA presented an exhibition on Calder and contemporary artists, Jun 26–Oct 17, 2010.
4th Floor Exhibition
Oct 12, 2013–May 10, 2015
• The South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC), where Faheem Majeed used to work, was founded in 1940 through President Franklin Roosevelt’s Work Progress Administration (WPA). Of the 110 centers established by the WPA’s Federal Art Project, the SSCAC is the only surviving organization and the oldest African American art center in the country.
• The title, Planting and Maintaining a Perennial Garden, is a reference to artist and critic Anna Tyler’s essay on the SSCAC, which elaborates on how caring for the SSCAC was like the process of planting and maintaining a perennial garden.
Anna M. Tyler, "Planting and Maintaining a 'Perennial Garden,' Chicago's South Side Community Art Center” International Review of African American Art 11, no. 4 (1994): 31–37
If you were collaborating with Majeed, what would you like to leave behind as a part of the installation?
See earlier versions of Planting and Maintaining a Perennial Garden
3rd Floor Exhibition
Mar 10–Aug 16
• The first hot air balloon passengers were a rooster, a duck, and a sheep. Their flight took place in France in 1783 and lasted eight minutes.
• Hot air balloons were used during the American Civil War for reconnaissance missions.
• The world record for the highest hot air balloon flight is 68,986 feet (commercial airlines have cruising altitudes of up to 39,000 feet). The pilot, Vijaypat Singhania, had to wear an oxygen mask in order to breathe.
If you were flying in a hot air balloon, where would you like to go?
2nd Floor Exhibition
Koi fish are a variety of the common carp specially bred to bring out a range of bright colors. The word koi comes from the Japanese word nishikigoi (ni'-she-key-goy), meaning "brocaded carp." It is also the Japanese word for "love" or "affection."
• Take a look around the museum as you walk through. Where else can you find the ovoid shape of the pond?
• In Japanese culture, koi fish symbolize love or affection. What symbolizes love or affection for you?
1st Floor Installation