Gramercy Park's Calder Sculpture to Travel to Amsterdam for Exhibit

By Heather Holland on February 27, 2014 8:56am 

 Gramercy Park's Alexander Calder sculpture was removed and shipped to Amsterdam last week.
Gramercy Park's Alexander Calder sculpture was removed and shipped to Amsterdam last week.
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Sean Brady

GRAMERCY — Gramercy Park’s 26-foot-tall Alexander Calder sculpture is going overseas.

The sculpture, which had been loaned to the gated park and displayed since fall 2011, was packed up last week to be shipped to Amsterdam, where it will go on display in the Rijksmuseum’s garden along with 19 other Calder sculptures, said Lily Lyons, a spokeswoman for the Calder Foundation.

“[We’re moving it] because of the exhibition,” Lyons said. “It’s a pretty important exhibit. We’ve been working with the Rijksmuseum to exhibit Calder’s monumental sculptures.”

Called “Janey Waney,” the tall red structure with colorful pieces that dangle from the top like a mobile was removed from the park on Feb. 18 by a specialized fine arts shipping company, Lyons said.

The work will be exhibited at the Rijksmuseum from June 21 to Oct. 5, Lyons said.

The foundation, a nonprofit that works to display Calder’s art all over the world, placed the 1969 sculpture temporarily in Gramercy Park as a loan and is still uncertain whether the artwork will return after the exhibit, Lyons said.

“We were very sad to see ‘Janey Waney’ leave temporarily for the exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and anxiously await its return,” said Arlene Harrison, a trustee of Gramercy Park and president of The Gramercy Park Block Association.

Last year, the Trustees of Gramercy Park secured a five-year Certificate of Appropriateness from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to display the work in the park, which is located in the Gramercy Park Historic District.

Harrison said she is currently talking with the Calder Foundation to have the artwork returned and to have a different Calder piece placed in the park in the meantime.

“From the very beginning, the Gramercy Park community has overwhelmingly embraced having 'Janey Waney' in Gramercy Park," Harrison said. "It is a world-class work of art by one of the most highly acclaimed artists of the 20th century."

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