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The New Yorker

© 2022 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photography by Tom Powel Imaging.

By Johanna Fateman

In this unusual and thrillingly synergistic show, the curator Kelly Taxter presents Alexander Calder’s art—from his early, drawing-like wire pieces made in the nineteen-twenties, to his later mobiles, with their drifting, balletic geometry—as a jumping-off point for new interactive endeavors by six contemporary artists. (The effect of wind on Calder’s kinetic works becomes the show’s unifying metaphor, aided by a wonderful exhibition design from Selldorf Architects.) The vertiginous seascapes and startling atmospheric disturbances of Jakob Kudsk Steensen’s virtual-reality ecosystem (experienced via a headset) change, sometimes radically, with the slightest turn of the head. Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley evokes a battered dystopia in a grainy, chaotic video game. Davide Balula’s “A.I. Generated Instructions”—displayed using LED—have an affinity with Yoko Ono’s prompts, from the sixties, for making art, but Balula’s are the product of machine learning, based on data about his previous works. One poetic instruction, titled “Cloud Seeding,” reads “listen to a balloon float”; it’s accompanied by a red rubber sphere, at the end of a string. In Taxter’s provocative context, it comes across as slyly Calderesque.