Calder's Gibraltar at MOMA is a study in contrasts, weight and weightlessness; smooth vs rough; natural vs man-made. It also contrasts with much of his other work in that it is much simpler and less refined than most "Calders" you'll see.
lignum vitae, walnut, steel rods, and painted wood
I think it is very revealing that the museum's label says it was a gift of the artist in 1966. Certainly he could have had easily sold it at some point during the forty years he kept it in his personal collection -- so it must have had a special place in his heart. Though it isn't stunningly beautiful like the majority of his work, and is much more experimental in a playful way, it still contains iconic qualities of a "Calder" such as balance.
I love how the white ball is both defying gravity and subject to it, as if it should roll off the "table" and is instead seemingly drawn to the "rock" as if it is large enough to create its own powerful gravitational field. I also love how the "wing" is floating high above the "rock" next to the round star/planet/sun.
Gibraltar (closeup)Like a lot of the idiosyncratic Calder wood sculptures I've seen, this piece doesn't seem to have been made for public consumption. I feel artists need to make time for creating work that isn't made to be sold, work that gives their creative mind space to make things that are made for no good reason at all. That is what I love most about it.