Art And The City

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Calder completed the piece in two years, and for the 1969 dedication Aaron Copland wrote a fanfare. In its early days La Grande Vitesse attracted a surprising degree of local ire. Nancy Mulnix recalls hate mail, including a letter saying, “If I ever see you, I’ll spit on you.” Then there was the bullet shot into her home. Things are different today. The stabile’s image appears on street signs, police cars, and garbage trucks. And every June Calder’s immense emblem is celebrated anew, with a hugely popular three-day festival, drawing as many as 500,000 visitors. “It is the gathering place for causes, for protests, for celebrations,” Nancy Mulnix has written. “We measure distance from the Calder, we start and finish at the Calder. It is never alone, and it is never defaced.”