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Calder’s ‘Act’ lands at SAM

Sun., Sept. 13, 2009

I am so embarrassed.

Right now, right now, Alexander Calder’s creations are on their way to the Seattle Art Museum. They’ll be there from Oct. 15 to April 11, 2010.

SAM says this will be “a singular occasion to appreciate the work of one of the 20th century’s titans of modern art.”

Um, I’ve never heard of him. I could just die.

With no respect for my feelings at all, “Alexander Calder: A Balancing Act” will trace “the master American sculptor’s work,” without mercy.

Brace yourself for 44 photographs, mobiles, stabiles, works on paper and jewelry.

It seems fair to say SAM organized this exhibit entirely to make me feel inadequate. I admit it. I haven’t the foggiest notion what a stabile is.

I’m sure most of you all do, but in case there’s another dolt in the crowd, here you go: A stabile is an abstract sculpture or construction similar in appearance to a mobile but made to be stationary.

Moving on. A film by Herbert Matter, a contemporary of Calder’s, will show the artist’s works in progress.

More worshipful thoughts from the museum: “Calder was one of the leaders in defining what mattered in 20th-century art, balancing delicacy and the handmade with industrial materials and processes.”

Note to SAM: Any time you mount a “handmade” show, you run the risk of “my kid could do that” commentary.

Learn more about elevating your kid’s artistic ambitions at or (206) 625-8900.

SAM, meet Mike

Now, here’s a guy of whom I’ve heard.

SAM (who seems a very busy fellow himself) has another artistic bonbon coming your way beginning Oct. 15.

In fact, this is the only venue in the good old USA where you’ll see ”Michelangelo Public and Private: Drawings from the Sistine Chapel and Other Treasures from the Casa Buonarroti.”

They’ll throw in a range of works by his contemporaries and followers for good measure.

Impressive, no?

Organizers say the show, which continues through Jan. 31, “humanizes the great master, exposing the working process that led to masterpieces such as the Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes.”

They’re even planning to reveal the drawings and sculptural models that drove his contemporaries mad with jealousy.

You can’t really blame them

If your old girlfriend’s new boyfriend were an architect, painter, sculptor, poet and engineer, wouldn’t you just hate him?

Face it, he’s got all the moves. You’re never getting back together.

See what the ladies like at or call (206) 625-8900.

Regional events

•HatcH Film Festival, Sept. 30-Oct. 3, Bozeman: In one jam-packed week, catch screenings of 10 features, 10 “ground breaker” films, a shorts program and musical events. ( 406-586-2635)

•TurkFest, Oct. 17 and 18, Seattle: This event celebrates cultures, linking modern Turkey to the East and West, with dance and music performances, food, art and more – including shadow puppetry. ( 206-547-2278)

Christianne Sharman can be reached by e-mail at


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