60 WRD/MIN ART CRITIC: Alex Chitty

60 WRD/MIN / Nov 6, 2020 / by Lori Waxman / Go to Original

So beloved are Alexander Calder’s mobiles that it can be hard to notice anything else about them. Hence the need for Becoming the Breeze, Alex Chitty’s no-holds-barred intervention in the MCA Chicago’s dependable exhibition of Calder’s sculptures, whose constancy turns out to be a (concerning) condition of their long-term loan. Chitty offers pretty much everything except a straightforward display: Calder’s sculptures appear photographed mid-installation, dispersed in pieces, tucked in their storage containers, replicated many times over, spun about in frantic motion, and as just a silhouette. The effect is to highlight nothing about Calder and everything about private versus institutional collecting, the practices of conservation and warehousing, modes of presentation and curating, the importance of originality, and the metrics of high art valuation. It’s witty, too, the gallery being overrun with “A Bunch of Pussies,” Chitty’s increasingly incorrect knock-offs of Calder’s “Chat-Mobile” (1966), amongst whose ever-growing litter lurked the original. Meow. (The show, organized with Raven Falquez Munsell and Jack Schneider, ended a month early due to pandemic closures.)