Be Good or Be Destroyed

An article in Artsy’s online newsletter recounts the circumstances when well known artists destroyed their work. The primary and common reason was that they were eliminating works that didn’t meet their standards—either because they shifted focus in their work or they believed the quality to be unacceptable. I get that, but I don’t see it as newsworthy.

The only part of the article that truly intrigued me was the open paragraphs about Belgian painter Luc Tuymans. His practice is to never spend more than one day on a project then leave it sit for a day. If he likes what he sees the next day he sends it to his dealer. If he doesn’t like the artwork he destroys it. I think that’s a very cool approach to creating art. I wish I had the courage to try it.

Calder's Conceptual Journey

A recent article in Artsy’s enewsletter, “Understanding Alexander Calder Through 6 Pivotal Artworks”, follows Calder’s development from his early concepts to the gigantic mobiles for which he is most known. It always fascinates me to learn about the creative journey—especially an artist’s journey. I can easily follow most of the concept development but I struggle with the high praise the author gave the first work presented. I get and admire the concept of adding a fourth dimension to the piece however it didn’t appeared finished. It was very rudimentary in presentation and all the movement required manipulation by the artist. It was done in the first part of the 20th century so Calder had limited tools to deliver on the concept.


The difference between the first and second works is significant. In fact, the movement concept is minimized perhaps even eliminated. He evolved toward a single media—twisted wire. I’m thinking there was a smoother progression that led to the wire sculpture. The work in the article looked like it was created from a single length of wire which is amazingly impressive.


From that point forward, Calder follows a very interesting path. It makes sense without being overly predictable and certainly not boring. I appreciate Calder’s work a lot more than I did prior to reading the article. I think the other reading I’ve done recently on physics concepts has added to my understanding and appreciation of Alexander Calder. I’m also motivated to learn more about the artist.