Yesterday we went to visit this sculpture by one of my very favorite artists Calder, the master of cool shapes. I read somewhere he said, “My fan mail is enormous. Everyone is under six.”

calder2.jpg Unfortunately we missed the big Obama rally that was held underneath the sculpture by just a few hours, because we were inside at the conference listening to the history of this piece and how it was one of the first public art installations funded by the NEA — after Nancy Mulnix Tweddale wrote a long-hand letter to then congressman Gerald Ford for support. So artists, maybe we need to get back to writing long-hand for our agendas and skip this email stuff!

Russ took this photo of me testing the weight of the sculpture — yes, it is too heavy to lift.

The rest of the day was busy with lectures at the Meijer Sculpture Park. I took pages of sketch-notes at a mentoring session with Patrick Dougherty who makes fantastic sculptures out of sticks, and at a profound keynote address by Barcelona artist Jaume Plensa, and will have to wait until I’m home to fully reflect on it all. Both are artists I’ve mentioned on this blog before, so you can check the links in the meantime.


  • La Grande Vitesse! (It’s the actual name of the sculpture.)
    My grandmother was a good friend of Nancy Mulnix and was involved in getting the sculpture to GR…that whole drama was a part of my youth.

    It was really fun to see the sculpture again here on your blog after so many years (it’s been 36 years since GR was in my rearview mirror…) I recognized it instantly.

    Thanks for posting it!

  • I love the way your skater in Skating on Thin Ice mirrors the shape of the Calder sculpture in this picture. Was that intention?

  • Those shoes are great, got them in Chicago last year. I’ve always wanted to draw or paint them because they’re kind of fat and cute. :)Thanks for visiting!

  • Hi Pam,
    I am also a huge Calder fan. Our High Museum of Art in Midtown has a wonderful Calder mobile adorning the front lawn.
    Love your blue shoes…….wanted to get a closer look, but, sadly, your pic doesn’t enlarge. ;-(


  • Sorry Teri! I didn’t know I knew anyone in Grand Rapids!!
    We didn’t have a lot of time for the trip, actually there was no free trip scheduled, so I didn’t post that I’d be there in advance.

  • Hi Angela,
    He was actaully great — gave lots of useful tips. If I get it together, maybe I’ll actually write them up someday! Good to hear from you.

  • Lucky you, a mentoring session with Patrick Dougherty!

    He built a piece in our local botanic garden, and for almost two years I got to visit often and just be inside of that space/form…

  • Hi Olga, hope you get there, the show looks fantastic. There’s nothing like seeing the real work, the internet is a poor copy.
    I need to get back to savoring my notes, hope I can do that soon.

    Thanks for the comments and link.

  • no fair!! You were in Grand Rapids and didn’t TELL ME?????!!!!!!!!

    Boo hiss……you were 40 minutes away. I wanted to go to the rally but knew parking would be an absolute PITA. I am thinking my vote is what’s important…..

    I love the Calders too…..I love his mobiles.


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