As a result of concern on the part of the heirs of Alexander Calder over possible public confusion between the artist’s works and those by others he has inspired, three museums—the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Phillips Collection in Washington—have removed Calder-inspired mobiles from their gift shops either permanently or during Calder exhibitions. The Calder estate raised the issue in the course of arrangements for a major Calder retrospective at the San Francisco Museum (until 1 December). The estate is not seeking to stop the artists from producing mobiles reminiscent of Calder. Rather, the question is one of gift shop sales at museums where Calders are on display. Such propinquity could benefit the artists by heightening public interest in the Calder style—but could also confuse the public. The Phillips Collection said that “over the course of a long relationship with the Calder family and foundation [it had] been informed that the family and foundation are concerned by issues of authenticity that are raised by the sale of Calder-like mobiles. The museum found itself in sympathy with their concerns and has decided not to sell Calder-like mobiles in the museum shop.”
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Calder mobiles removed'