In terms of legacy, Calder is the Hemingway of the art world. His work is so popular, accessible and deceptively easy that the most au courant scholars tend to pass it over, and other artists don't always own up to its influence.
"It's almost like Calder is invisible because he's so ubiquitous," says L.A.-based artist Jason Meadows, who used to walk by one of his massive public sculptures as a student at the Art Institute of Chicago. "When I was getting educated into the world of fine art, Abstract Expressionist painters were really hot and I got really charmed by Pop Art. Calder wasn't someone you would think about."
It was only later, in graduate school at UCLA, that he became interested in Alexander Calder as a fabricator who exposed his own construction process and industrial materials — "these giant plates of steel cut into organic forms with giant rivets holding it all together."
Making the seams visible is also a hallmark of Meadows' sculpture, which also embraces bright color, though often more funky or jarring than Calder's. And it's one reason why Meadows was tapped for the Orange County Museum of Art show opening April 10 that pairs seven contemporary artists — mainly sculptors who work with everyday objects — with the modernist master: "Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art: Form, Balance, Joy."