Listening to Art

07.12: Alexander Calder, Janey Waney

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Listening to Art, by William Denton.

Volume seven, number twelve: Janey Waney by Alexander Calder.

Hello, and welcome to Listening to Art. I’m William Denton.

Alexander Calder was an American artist who lived from 1898 to 1976. He moved to Paris in 1926 and stayed for seven years, during which he began to make the moving sculptures that we call “mobiles.” The name was coined by Marcel Duchamp, the greatest artist of the twentieth century. In his biography Duchamp: A Biography, Calvin Tomkins writes (p. 290): “It was Duchamp who suggested to Alexander Calder, an American living in Paris, that he call his wire sculptures with moving elements ‘mobiles;’ Calder used that title for the first time a month later, when he showed them at the Galerie Vignon in 1932.” Later in his career Calder made much larger works that would stand outside. Janey Waney, from 1969, is one of these.

This is a sculpture, made of painted steel and steel rods, fitting in a volume 762 cm wide, 772 cm high and an unknown depth.

Now let’s listen to Janey Waney by Alexander Calder, recorded in the Tuileries Garden, in Paris, on 19 July 2019.

Waveform of the field recording.

That was Janey Waney by Alexander Calder. I hope you enjoyed listening to it as much as I did.

For more information and links to things I’ve mentioned, please visit

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All web sites accessed as of date of publication.

Calder Foundation. “Calder Foundation.” Calder Foundation.

Tomkins, Calvin. Duchamp: A Biography. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2014.

Wikipedia, s.v. “Alexander Calder,”