The Calder Question
Enter The Digital Realm With Celebrated Artist Alexander Calder
First-of-its-kind Educational NFT Collecting Experience Opens Today

October 7, 2022 | Updated on October 13, 2022

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© 2022 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

NEW YORK (October 7, 2022) — Calder Foundation and TRLab, an NFT platform for fine art, are pleased to announce the October 7 launch of The Calder Question, the first official NFT project devoted to the pioneering genius of 20th-century artist Alexander Calder. This next-generation application of NFT technology integrates elements of arts education, gaming, and NFT collecting into a fine arts-focused interactive experience open to arts enthusiasts and collectors at all levels. 

At The Calder Question participants can now access orientation materials and start exploring “Mobiles,” the first season of a multi-part educational journey that will highlight Calder’s mastery of sculptural art forms. There is no cost to join the experience, but each user must connect a crypto wallet in order to move through the three-week educational journey, where they will participate in challenges and collaborative activities and unlock rewards. At the conclusion of the 3-week journey, participants will also have the opportunity to acquire limited-edition NFTs developed by the Calder Foundation specifically for the experience. 

The most engaged participants in The Calder Question will earn exclusive access to the Calder Foundation in the form of collectible items and invitations to in-person art gatherings. Free achievement tokens can be claimed at specific points along the educational journey and accumulated in each participant’s personal account. The Foundation a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, preserving, and interpreting Calder’s art and archives – will use proceeds from sales of the limited-edition NFTs to establish a conservation fund for the restoration of Calder artworks.

Alexander S. C. Rower, President of the Calder Foundation, commented:

“Even as the exact technologies are evolving, it’s clear that the metaverse will continue to be a part of our collective experience. The Calder Foundation—in stewarding my grandfather’s legacy—is eager to explore his genius in these new frontiers. Our hope is that everyone who joins The Calder Question will come away with a deeper understanding of Calder as a disruptor who pushed far beyond the established norms by collapsing mass and setting sculpture in motion.” 

Limited-Edition NFTs

To create the limited-edition NFTs for the Mobiles season, the Calder Foundation and TRLab collaborated with two-time Emmy® Award-winning motion graphic designer and artist Raoul Marks. Marks’ sophisticated expertise has been showcased in some of this generation’s most memorable title sequences for The Crown, Westworld, and True Detective among other TV series, as well as major advertising campaigns for Apple and Louis Vuitton. Marks is represented by Triple X, an organization focused on curating quality digital art and NFT projects, striving to alter the perception of art within a broader audience.

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Stills from full-motion NFT artworks. To preview all 5 digital artworks, click here

As Art Director for the NFT artworks connected to the “Mobiles” chapter of The Calder Question, Marks worked with Rower to explore the roles of motion and negative space in Calder’s works and use animation techniques to showcase five extraordinary mobiles in the Foundation’s permanent collection. The resulting NFTs – each in the form of a one-minute digital artwork – allow viewers to experience the mobiles from a unique perspective made possible only through technology.

Marks commented:

“I want viewers to feel transported to the edge of space, to peer into black holes surrounded by points of light or to swoop under giant monoliths suspended in the void. But most of all I hope it leaves people with many questions and a desire to know even more about Calder’s exceptional body of work and how relevant it continues to be for us in the now.” 

The five NFTs will be offered to The Calder Question participants at the conclusion of the three-week online experience on October 31 for a price of $8,000 each, in an edition size of just 32 per artwork. In keeping with the educational and art historical mission of The Calder Question, participants who engage with the challenges and activities portions of the journey will be given a significant advantage at sale time; any remaining NFTs will be available for purchase at $16,000 each starting November 1.

Next-Generation NFT Experiences

The launch of The Calder Question signals a new era for NFT-based innovations in the arena of fine art and education. TRLab is known within the traditional art world for prioritizing mission-driven NFT experiences over one-time drops, with a goal of fostering a deeper understanding of each featured artist’s individual philosophy and practice. Previous successful projects have included Your Daytime Fireworks, a 45-day interactive NFT journey with contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang, which has attracted 10,000 followers globally and is currently shortlisted for a 2022 Lumen Prize for Art and Technology. 

Xin Li-Cohen, Co-Founder and Chairwoman of TRLab, commented:

“TRLab’s mission is rooted in the belief that education and community should be integrated with art collecting, and advances in NFT technology have given us the tools to make the process both fun and rewarding. Experience has shown us that art lovers are hungry for connection to the great artists of our time, and they value ongoing interactive engagement as much as in-person art experiences. We are thrilled to be partnering with the Calder Foundation on this unique project, and to demonstrate that NFT art experiences can help deepen our collective knowledge of art history.” 

Audrey Ou, Co-Founder and CEO of TRLab added:

“We are honored to be working in such close collaboration with Alexander S. C. Rower, the artist’s grandson, who has been devoted to the preservation of Calder’s legacy for more than 30 years. This project is very much in line with the Foundation’s greater goal of broadening global access to its incredible holdings by adding a digital-native strategy to supplement their long-standing partnerships with museums and institutions.”

Following completion of the first chapter of The Calder Question, TRLab will confirm the schedule for subsequent chapters devoted to Calder’s early abstractions, figurative wire sculptures, and sound-making works from the Foundation’s permanent collection. For timely updates on news and announcements, participants are encouraged to follow TRLab on Twitter (@trlab_).

About Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder (b. 1898, Lawnton, Pennsylvania–d. 1976, New York City), whose illustrious career spanned much of the 20th century, is the most acclaimed and influential sculptor of our time. Born in a family of celebrated, though more classically trained artists, Calder utilized his innovative genius to profoundly change the course of modern art. He began in the 1920s by developing a new method of sculpting: by bending and twisting wire, he essentially “drew” three-dimensional figures in space. He is renowned for the invention of the mobile, whose suspended, abstract elements move and balance in changing harmony. From the 1950s onward, Calder increasingly devoted himself to making outdoor sculpture on a grand scale from bolted steel plate. Today, these stately titans grace public plazas in cities throughout the world.

About Calder Foundation

The Calder Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization founded in 1987 by Alexander S. C. Rower and the Calder family, is dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, preserving, and interpreting the art and archives of Alexander Calder. The Foundation’s objectives include furthering public knowledge and appreciation for the arts; conducting research in art history and related subjects and presenting those results to the general public; providing facilities and programs to assist the education and development of artists; and preserving Calder’s artistic legacy for scholarship, including the physical preservation of his works, archives, homes, and studios. Additionally, the Calder Foundation is dedicated to conserving natural resources and education in agriculture and sustainable environmental practices. The Foundation’s projects include collaborating on exhibitions and publications, organizing and maintaining the Calder archives, examining works attributed to Calder, and cataloguing the artist’s works. The Foundation also organizes its own exhibitions, lectures, performances, and events on Calder and on contemporary artists supported by the biannual Calder Prize and the Atelier Calder residency program in Saché, France.

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About TRLab 

Co-founded by Xin Li-Cohen, Christie’s non-executive Deputy Chairman, and TRLab CEO Audrey Ou, TRLab is a full-service platform that fuses NFT technology with fine art. TRLab works with artists, foundations, and institutions to develop curated NFT collecting experiences that prioritize direct access, long-term value and ongoing innovation. TRLab’s team has successfully conceived and launched numerous projects with leading digital and traditional artists, including “Your Daytime Fireworks,” a Lumen Prize-nominated NFT project with renowned contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang. Backed by major investors from the tech and art sectors, TRLab’s partners and investors include Dragonfly Capital, Pace Verso, and Rockbund Art Museum, one of Asia’s premier contemporary art museums. Learn more about TRLab’s team and major projects at trlab.com.

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