Kinetic art is art that contains moving parts or depends on motion for its effect. The motion of the work can be provided in many ways: mechanically through electricity, steam or clockwork; by utilizing natural phenomena such as wind power; or by relying on the spectator. Kinetic art encompasses a wide variety of overlapping techniques and styles.
Today’s kinetic artists are pushing the envelope as they borrow from the latest technologies and partner with scientists to create pieces that utilize solar power, sound waves, and fiber optics. It is believed that Russian sculptors Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner made up the term “kinetic art” in 1920 in the Realist Manifesto, a book in which they advised artists to let go of conventions.
While the Kinetic Art Organization is largely inactive today, Frank maintains the website Kineticus.com, which lists kinetic artists and exhibitions. The Kinetic Art Organization still hopes to someday build a museum in the U.S.
Calder has been called, because of the mobile, the only artist who has invented and then practiced an art of his own. ... Distinguished sculptors such as George Rickey derived their mobile art directly from Calder's, as did most of the recent kinetic sculptors.
Moholy-Nagy's writings of the 1920s, therefore, established a basis for continued exploration of constructivist and kinetic sculpture in the following decade. For example, Calder's recurring use of the spiral in subsequent kinetic devices may be related to Moholy-Nagy's designation of the spiral as a "bio-technical" element of construction.
Enlivened with a sense of humour, Calder's playful and inventive abstract constructions (or 'Mobiles' as they were dubbed by Marcel Duchamp) reflected universal forms and rhythms: planets and moons; the ebb and flow of time and space.
Alexander Calder (1898 - 1976) made works of sculpture that actually move. Calder's kinetic works unfix the traditional stability and timelessness of art and invest it with vital qualities of mutability and unpredictability.
It inspired new kinds of art that went beyond the boundaries of the traditional, handcrafted, static object, encouraging the idea that the beauty of an object could be the product of optical illusions or mechanical movement. But the group was split between those such Jean Tinguely, who were interested in employing actual movement, and those such as Victor Vasarely, who were interested in optical effects and the illusion of movement and went on to be more closely associated with the Op art movement.
The optical effects which op art introduced became physical movement in 'kinetic art'. Some examples are suspended figures which moved in currents of warm air, known as 'mobiles'. ... The constructed nature of kinetic works also began to mark a convergence of painting and sculpture into works known as installations.
Popular especially in the 1950s and '60s, Kinetic Art is that which moves or appears to move, a "form of plastic art in which the movement of forms, colours and planes is the means to obtain a changing whole" (qtd. in Dempsey 197). It's a valid concept since, as Jean Tinguely said in 1959, "Everything moves continuously. Immobility does not exist." Kinetic works range from those that sway gracefully and with hypnotic slowness to those "junk machines" that become explosive "happenings."
Early experiments with movement in art began between 1913 and 1920, led by artists of the Dadaist and Constructivist traditions. Perhaps the earliest instance of kinetic art was Marcel Duchamp's Bicycle Wheel (1913), which consisted of a wheel inverted on a stool (the piece is also recognized as the first "readymade" sculpture).