As we speak

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 9.24.21 AM

Got to love when a conversation had at a summer BBQ resurfaces in a morning art bulletin: After listening to a friend talk about her recent Dancers’ Workshop teaching residency and its pan-creative curriculum based on Alexander Calder’s approach to static and dynamic motion, I woke up to find an e-notice of the new “Calder in the Alps” sculpture exhibition in Gstaad, Switzerland. Art synchronicity.

The exhibition, staged by Hauser & Wirth in collaboration with the Calder Foundation, features (through September 30) five large-scale stabiles and one standing mobile, 3 White Arrows (1965), a gentle trident last installed outside the Seagram Building in New York—a setting more in keeping with Calder’s aims: “My mobiles and stabiles must be put in open spaces, like [...] in front of modern buildings […] It must be designed as a real urban signal as well as sculpture."

Gstaad provides a fresh context for Calder’s work; less urban signage, more bucolic jolts. “These works will surely surprise viewers as they harmonize in unpredictable ways with their surroundings,” said Calder Foundation President Alexander S.C. Rower. Add to the context a finned denim top—unpredictable perfection.

Above water

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 10.19.22 AM A weekend of waterborne celebration, both at home and afar: leagues away from the floatilla we crafted, global art pilgrims feted the full expression of conceptual virtuoso Christo’s long-held design for “The Floating Piers.” The two-week installation found a 1.9-mile saffron walkway bobbing across Lake Iseo in Northern Italy, an ephemeral experience of walking on water—or “perhaps the back of a whale,” Christo has said—a dream realized by the artist's tenacious team over 22 months, a yellow-brick road formed by 220,000 cubes anchored to the uneven lakebed by a crew of French deep-sea divers and Bulgarian athletes.

In the 1970s, Christo and his late wife and collaborator Jeanne-Claude set out to create a transcendent commute for people living in harbor communities, otherwise bound to boat travel. After considering multiple sites—including Río de la Plata in Argentina and Tokyo Bay in Japan—the widower Christo landed on the perfect location linking San Paolo, the private island inhabited by the Beretta family, with the islet of Monte Isola and the shores of Sulzano. “The Floating Piers” recalls his last outdoor installation with his wife, “The Gates,” which draped Central Park in 7,500 saffron panels in 2005. As with all of their ambitious concepts,“The Floating Piers” was free and open to all. “There are no tickets, no openings, no reservations and no owners. The Floating Piers are an extension of the street and belong to everyone.”

Everyone and then some. All told, the pedestrian piece drew more than 1.2 million visitors, doubling projections. At times, the tiny hamlet was overwhelmed, forcing transit suspensions to quell crowds and nighttime closures of the artwork to allow for clean-up. Still, come its closing Sunday, the installation began its deliberate vanishing act, with all materials removed and recycled. A nomadic dream, now memory.