Only Philadelphia can boast of a unique "row" of monumental sculpture along its expansive Benjamin Franklin Parkway that was created by three generations of Calders, one of America's best known families of artists. From the figures that adorn City Hall's façade and dome created in the late 19th century by Alexander Milne Calder to the 1924 Swann Memorial Fountain at Logan Circle by Alexander Stirling Calder, and concluding at the "Ghost" mobile suspended from the two-story ceiling of this Museum's grand entrance created in 1964 by Alexander "Sandy" Calder, visitors can visually trace the work from grandfather to father to son. It is therefore not surprising that Philadelphia would be considered for the site of a museum dedicated to this prolific family. These records document the life-cycle of the project--from its inception in 1998 to its planning, design and negotiations, and finally to its publicized abandonment in 2005. There are also files pertaining to other projects featuring the works of Alexander Calder; namely two temporary outdoor installations on the parkway and the Museum's reinstallation of "Ghost" and loan of "Eagle."
With the support of the city of Philadelphia and then-Mayor Ed Rendell, PMA took an active role in the project from its inception when it joined with the New York based Alexander and Louisa Calder Foundation to form the Calder Museum Partners, a nonprofit entity incorporated in 2001. Its board included Alexander "Sandy" S.C. Rower, grandson of Alexander Calder and Foundation director, PMA executives and professional staff, and state and city officials. Diane Dalto of the Mayor's office was appointed Project Director for the Calder Museum. In March 2000, the Fairmount Park Commission approved a site for the proposed museum on the Parkway across the Rodin Museum, and on February 14, 2001, it was announced that the acclaimed Japanese architect Tadao Ando would be the museum's designer. That year as Ando's firm started working on the project, Schultz & Williams, Inc. completed a feasibility study. Fundraising efforts also began, but proved successful only in securing a planning grant from William Penn Foundation and a $5 million grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts. The latter enabled PMA to stage "Calders on the Parkway," two temporary outdoor installations of works by Alexander Calder, presented in May 2002 and November 2004. Between 2001 and 2004, the participating institutions issued numerous drafts of joint venture and loan agreements, but final versions were never signed. Despite a rather enthusiastic start, progress on the project slowed down and articles of dissolution for the Calder Museum and Calder Museum Partners were filed in June 2003. In 2004, an attempt to revitalize the project was undertaken, and Lord Cultural Resources Planning and Management Inc., the same firm that prepared PMA's 1996 management and marketing study, was hired to prepare a business plan, which was ready the following year. Still, in September 2005, the local media pronounced the project dead. Further actions by all parties involved were not strong enough to resuscitate it.
In this subseries, these events are documented primarily in the form of correspondence between the major project participants. These include d'Harnoncourt, PMA Chief Operating Officer Gail Harrity, and curator Ann Temkin, as well as Foundation director "Sandy" Rower, and Alexander Calder's daughters and Foundation trustees, Sandra Calder Davidson and Mary Calder Rower. Diane Dalto and other city officials, Ando and his Kyoto office staff, Pew Charitable Trusts officers, art collectors and colleagues from other museums are also among the correspondents. Correspondence enclosures include draft budgets and agreements, press releases and project narratives. Most of this material is in the "General" folders. Subject titled folders hold similar documentation. For example, included in the "General" and "Architectural design" folders is correspondence with Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, which constitutes an important part of the project documentation. It chronicles the firm's participation, starting with its preliminary visit to New York and Philadelphia in 2000, followed by the press conference at PMA to announce its appointment in early 2001 as architect, and then the visit to Japan made by PMA and Foundation members in May 2001. Files also contain press releases and press clippings, d'Harnoncourt's press conference remarks, as well as Ando's design drawings and space plans. An autographed souvenir program of an award ceremony honoring Ando is also included.
While images of works of Calder art are in separate folders, other photographs are included in a number of subject folders. These include group shots, such as those depicting d'Harnoncourt, Ando, Dalton, Harrity and Rower at the installation of "Eagle" and during the visit to Japan. The corresponding folders are "Eagle" and "Japan visit." More of a keepsake then project documentation is an undated photograph in the "Calder family correspondence folder" of Alexander Calder in Stuttgart. It is signed by his daughter Mary Calder Rower.
Documentation of the "Calders on the Parkway" project is included in the similarly titled subject folder, as well as "General" and "Funding: Pew Charitable Trusts" files. The files pertain to organizational, financial and installation and de-installation issues, object maintenance and restoration, publicity and media coverage. Information on PMA's on-site Calder installations, which had no connection to the proposed museum project, can be found in the object-titled folders, "Eagle" and "Ghost." The first pertains to the Museum's possible acquisition of the work; the latter documents the re-installation of the mobile.