Alexander Calder
Double Gong, 1953

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Double Gong
Artist name
Alexander Calder
Date created
metal and paint
brass (gongs)
60 in. × 132 in. × 132 in. (152.4 cm × 335.28 cm × 335.28 cm)
The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
© Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Permanent URL
Artwork status
On view on floor 3 as part of Alexander Calder: Dissonant Harmony through June 25, 2023.

Audio Stories

Did you hear that? A personal take on Double Gong

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Here’s Sandy Rower, the artist’s grandson.



I think one of the most profound experiences you can have with Calder’s mobiles is precisely that you’ll be observing it and you’ll look away, and you’ll look back and it will have moved, but it will be static — meaning that in your first observation it wasn’t really moving, and in your second observation it’s not really moving; but it moved in between the times that you glanced at it.



See those two brass pieces at the outer end of the mobile? If an air current happens to move them close enough together —


SFX: Ping (sound of the brass pieces touching)



They’re not supposed to ding all the time, like an instrument. They’re supposed to ding super-infrequently. But when they do, you turn around: “Where did that sound come from?” And you discover the mobile made a sound. It’s using another tool to bring us into the present moment. It’s sort of a mysterious thing, and that can be very profound.

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