Alexander Calder- Spinal Column
Size: 118 in. x 100 in. x 90 in. (299.7 cm x 254 cm x 228.6 cm)
Alexander Calder's works-- both his kinetic mobiles and his large painted iron stabiles-- transformed entirely the nature of public sculpture in the United States. While inspired by the early experiments in purely abstract art that Calder witnessed during his early visits to Europe, Calder's stabiles often play with references to forms from the natural world.
Spinal Column, for example, is at first glance a series of non-representational curves slicing through space, but on further examination seems a fanciful play on the vertebrae of the human backbone. Commissioned for The San Diego Museum of Art in 1968, Spinal Column long stood with other large scale twentieth-century works in the Museum's May S. Marcy Sculpture Court but has recently been reinstalled on the front steps of the Museum.