Calder's Saurien stabile

Something was wrong as I approached the corner at Madison Avenue. The IBM building – their front entrance – didn’t look right. It appeared so lifeless, so…EMPTY.  Where the heck was Calder’s brilliant red sculpture? For decades Alexander Calder’s massive steel stabile has distinguished and beautified that large entrance space. The focal point of those four busy corners, the striking red-orange stabile has been a treat to look at and photograph whenever I passed. Where could it possibly have gone? And why?

Perfectly complimenting that space and architecture, Calder’s monumental creation had been the pride of the IBM building. Or so I thought. Didn’t the company like it anymore? Impossible! One of Calder’s most powerful pieces, it would be the star of any museum. Was there something structurally wrong with it? Had the metal worn out? Weakened? Hard to believe. It had always looked fine to me – spiffy even – without a blemish or imperfection.

I did a quick google search at home. Nothing. I could always call the company, yes.  But the week passed and I was busy and besides, I didn’t want to know I was never going to see it again. Then last weekend I was on a Madison Avenue bus when we passed the IBM building and YIPPEE — there – in all its stunning red glory – was Calder’s sculpture.  It would appear the stabile had – like much of the world – undergone a spot of spring cleaning.

With apologies to Alexander Calder, the IBM stabile photo shown here is not a literal representation of his sculpture titled “Saurien”. It’s an abstracted, more emotional version conveying my elation and delight at finding it restored to its happy home.

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