Originally published August 23rd, 2017.
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For most visitors to the Pittsburgh airport, the fact there is a priceless piece of art in their midst goes right over their head.
No really.... because it is dangling from the ceiling, most people walk right under it without realizing it is there.
Alexander Calder, aka the "originator of the mobile," was a prolific American artist during the 20th century. He created and showed his pieces from the 1920s, up until his death in the 1970s. He made a lot of sculptures, pieces of jewelry, and obviously mobiles. He is also a PA native, born Lawnton, PA (outside Philly).
That was blatantly from his Wikipedia. But Calder produced some most influential art of the 20th century. Pittsburgh obtained this piece when Calder showed the work at the 1958 Carnegie International.
However, Pittsburgh didn't always treat it with the respect it deserved. This Pittsburgh City Paper article by Chris Potter (from 2003) does a great job explaining the importance of Calder's work for his time, and the piece's journey through Pittsburgh. (spoiler: green and yellow paint may have been involved)
This Post Gazette piece is another good read on the subject.
It is actually a little gut-wrenching how we treated it... like I had a physical reaction while reading about us painting it. Be sure to read Potter's piece!
Next time you're at the airport, look up in the center of the atrium.
The mobile is located on the gate side of the airport, after you ride tram and go up the escalators with the statues of the George Washington and the Immaculate Reception (ps: HOW PITTSBURGH is it for us to have statues of those two things next to each other?)
Its a giant mobile. You can't miss it... if you're looking. If you're not looking, it is very easy to miss.
Also, this is another Clader art piece I saw in Seattle.