Calder Foundation And TRLab Partner On First Official NFT Art Experience Devoted To Alexander Calder

Calder in his Roxbury studio, 1947. Photograph by Herbert Matter. © 2022 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

→ Read our feature on Artnet: https://news.artnet.com/market/calder-foundation-president-sandy-rower-nft-2146446

→ Explore: https://calderquestion.trlab.com/

NEW YORK, July 13, 2022 — Calder Foundation and TRLab, an NFT platform for fine art, announce a partnership to jointly develop The Calder Question, the first official Alexander Calder NFT experience. Set to launch in the fall, The Calder Question is an interactive educational collecting journey that will challenge participants’ assumptions about Calder and deepen their understanding of his art, culminating in a singular opportunity to collect limited-edition NFTs created specifically for the project. The Calder Foundation will use the proceeds to establish a new conservation fund for the restoration of Calder artworks.

Instantly recognizable and universally beloved, Alexander Calder (1898–1976) is among the most innovative artists of the Modern era, best known for his revolutionary mobiles — suspended kinetic sculptures that cut through space in unexpected ways. His artworks headline the collections of the most prominent museums worldwide, and his monumental sculptures are installed in major cities throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East for the public to enjoy.

The partnership brings together TRLab with the Calder Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 1987 by the artist’s grandson Alexander S. C. Rower and the Calder family. The Foundation is at the forefront of legacy preservation and is dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, preserving, and interpreting Calder’s art and archives. Over the last ten years, the Foundation’s exhibitions and projects have reached an audience of two million people annually. TRLab is unique within the fine art sector in their use of blockchain innovations that integrate education and exclusive access into the NFT art collecting process, creating dynamic user experiences that bring collectors closer to the artists they admire. The women-led platform, co-founded by Christie’s non-executive Deputy Chairwoman Xin Li-Cohen, has previously produced three highly successful NFT art projects with contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang, including a sold-out, 45-day interactive NFT experience that was closely followed by 10,000 community members.

For The Calder Question, TRLab and the Calder Foundation have mapped out an educational online journey. It begins with an orientation to Calder’s life and work that sets the stage for participants to explore four of Calder’s signature art forms in detail: mobiles, early abstractions, figurative wire sculptures, and sound-making works. There is no cost to join the journey but each user must have a crypto wallet ready in order to claim participation tokens and to proceed through The Calder Question, where they will encounter collaborative activities and challenges designed to showcase the extraordinary Calder artworks in the Foundation’s collection.

Throughout the journey participants will ‘unlock’ access to progressively more exclusive benefits and rewards from the Calder Foundation, including rare signed books and unusual collectible items, as well as a limited-edition series of NFTs that will be unveiled at the start of the project this fall. Virtual and in-person events hosted by Mr. Rower and the Foundation team will introduce attendees to the Foundation’s celebrated permanent collection. A select number of participants who complete all levels of The Calder Question and actively engage in the journey will be eligible to join Mr. Rower for an intimate guided tour of Calder’s meticulously preserved studio and private residence in Roxbury, Connecticut.

Mr. Rower, President of the Calder Foundation, commented:

“The Calder Question will invite new audiences to foster a deep understanding of my grandfather’s work, which remains as radical and relevant today as it was in his time. Calder was a pioneer in perception who continually reinvented ways to communicate his ideas. If he were alive today, I am certain that he would be at the forefront of digitally native art.”

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

Audrey Ou, Co-founder and CEO of TRLab, said:

“We are honored to collaborate with the Calder Foundation on this exciting journey and to contribute to the formation of their new sculpture conservation fund. As a fine art NFT platform focused on pioneering the future of collecting, we specialize in using NFT technology to build digital-native experiences grounded in education and access. NFTs give us the means to share the Calder Foundation’s rich holdings and deep expertise with art enthusiasts in an entirely new and innovative way, no matter who they are and where in the world they are located. For many new collectors and future art patrons, this is just the type of fine art NFT project they have been looking for, and we look forward to welcoming them into our global collecting community.”

Audrey Ou, Co-Founder and CEO of TRLab

Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries in London, commented:

“The past two and a half years have taught us that the digital space will hold an ever-growing place in our lives and in our experience of art, so there is an urgent need to think creatively about how to bring together the digital with the physical. By creating space for both, works by pioneering artists of the past can live on in the future. Artist foundations have an influential role to play in this process, and I am thrilled to see the Calder Foundation using their rich archival resources and collection to develop an engaging and educational digital experience that connects the traditional art world to the NFT landscape.”

Early registration for The Calder Question opens July 13, 2022, at https://calderquestion.trlab.com/. All prospective participants are also encouraged to follow TRLab on Twitter (@trlab_) or on Discord (discord.gg/trlab) for timely updates on the project prior to launch this fall.

TRLab is partnering with MoonPay to provide a seamless check-out process for first-time NFT buyers. MoonPay’s platform will support users in creating accounts, and collecting and storing their digital tokens as they navigate this experience.

Ivan Soto-Wright, CEO of MoonPay, said:

Using NFTs and Web3 to help preserve the legacy of the world’s most impactful artists and bring their work to new audiences is so important. We’re honored to help support TRLab and the Calder Foundation on this project to make sure it’s easy for everyone — regardless of their experience with web3 — to be a part of it.

About Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder (b. 1898, Lawnton, Pennsylvania–d. 1976, New York City), whose illustrious career spanned much of the twentieth 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 sold-out interactive collecting experience with renowned contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang, which generated $3M USD in primary market sales. 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 https://trlab.com/.

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About MoonPay

MoonPay is the world’s leading web3 infrastructure company. Its on-and-off-ramp suite of products provides a smooth experience for converting between fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies using all major payment methods including debit and credit cards, local bank transfers, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. MoonPay is active in more than 160 countries and is trusted by 450+ partners, including leading wallets, websites, and applications.

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