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Alexander Calder/Raoul Marks, "Vertical Foliage"

The Calder Question Mobilizes NFT Technology and Fine Art into a Collective Experience

Last month, the Calder Foundation and TRLab launched a groundbreaking NFT experience, “The Calder Question,” dedicated to the pioneering sculptor Alexander Calder and his enduring legacy as the most prolific and cutting-edge artist of the 20th century. Welcoming new and seasoned art collectors and enthusiasts, the digital three-week event integrated the principles of arts education, gaming, and NFT collecting into a singular fine arts journey. Participants engaged in various challenges and shared activities, learning of Calder’s momentous innovation and earning rewards along the way. Upon completion, participants had the opportunity to obtain the Calder Foundation’s limited-edition NFTs.  

The Calder Question Photo by Herbert Matter, courtesy of Calder Foundation, New York.
3 stills from LimEd Calder Foundation NFTs Alexander Calder/Raoul Marks,”Vertical Foliage,” “Snow Flurry, Eucalyptus,” three stills from Calder Foundation Limited-Edition NFTs; courtesy of the Calder Foundation and TRLab.

Born in 1898 to a family of classically trained artists, Calder emerged as an avant-garde artist in the 1920s with a new form of sculptural abstract art: the mobile. Beginning in the 1950s, he developed large-scale sculptures made from bolted steel plates, which now adorn public plazas across the globe. Top earners in “The Calder Question” acquired VIP access to the Foundation’s archival collectibles and in-person gatherings. Proceeds from the sales of NFTs will be used in the restoration and preservation of Calder’s artworks.

The Calder Question NFT Alexander Calder/Raoul Marks, “Eucalyptus,” 1940/2022, image still from Calder Foundation Limited Edition NFTs; courtesy of the Calder Foundation and TRLab.

“Even as the exact technologies are evolving, it’s clear that the metaverse will continue to be a part of our collective experience. The Calder Foundation—in stewarding my grandfather’s legacy—is eager to explore his genius in these new frontiers,” said Alexander S.C. Rower, President of the Calder Foundation. “Our hope is that everyone who joins The Calder Question will come away with a deeper understanding of Calder as a disruptor who pushed far beyond the established norms by collapsing mass and setting sculpture in motion.”

Alexander Calder/Raoul Marks, Alexander Calder “Vertical Foliage”, 1941. Sheet metal, wire, and paint, Calder Foundation, New York.

“Mobiles” fuses the creative efforts of the Calder Foundation, TRLab, and Emmy Award-winning motion graphic designer and artist Raoul Marks. Serving as the project’s Art Director, Marks collaborated closely with Rower to develop five NFTs as one-minute digital and animated artworks, paying homage to the otherworldly function of movement and negative space in Calder’s works. 

Calder at Roxbury Studio 1941 Photo by Herbert Matter, courtesy of Calder Foundation, New York.

“I want viewers to feel transported to the edge of space, to peer into black holes surrounded by points of light or to swoop under giant monoliths suspended in the void,” said Marks. “But most of all I hope it leaves people with many questions and a desire to know even more about Calder’s exceptional body of work and how relevant it continues to be for us in the now.” 

Calder. Tines, 1943. Alexander Calder, “Tines,” 1943, 50 x 58 x 3 1/2 in., pitchfork tines, glass, wire, shell, string, and paint; courtesy of Calder Foundation, New York.

On October 31 the NFTs became available to participants, with advantages given to those most engaged throughout the event. With “The Calder Question,” TRLab, an acclaimed platform brilliantly fusing fine art and NFT technology, celebrates a new era in art education. “TRLab’s mission is rooted in the belief that education and community should be integrated with art collecting, and advances in NFT technology have given us the tools to make the process both fun and rewarding,” said Xin Li-Cohen, Co-Founder and Chairwoman of TRLab. “Experience has shown us that art lovers are hungry for connection to the great artists of our time, and they value ongoing interactive engagement as much as in-person art experiences. We are thrilled to be partnering with the Calder Foundation on this unique project, and to demonstrate that NFT art experiences can help deepen our collective knowledge of art history.”

Calder. Snow Flurry, 1948 Alexander Calder, “Snow Flurry,” 1948, 73 x 81 in., sheet metal, wire, and paint; courtesy of Calder Foundation, New York.
Alexander Calder/Raoul Marks, Alexander Calder/Raoul Marks, “Vertical Foliage,” 1941/2022, image still from Calder Foundation Limited Edition NFTs; courtesy of the Calder Foundation and TRLab.

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