Suspension, 1943 copper tubing and copper wire irregular 52 x 98 x 32in
Provenance: Estate of May O'Donnell
The proceeds of this sale will benefit The O'Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation, Inc. Falkenstein designed this mobile for "Suspension," a performance by May O'Donnell in 1943.
May O'Donnell, a modern dance pioneer, choreographer and teacher, was born in Sacramento in 1906. In a career spanning more than seven decades, O'Donnell performed with notable dancers like Martha Graham and Jose Limon and inspired many students including Ben Vereen, Robert Joffrey, and Gerald Arpino.
O'Donnell's signature work, "Suspension," was created in wartime San Francisco in 1943. As O'Donnell recalls,
"One day, alone on a mountaintop, I saw a plane and ship below me and realized there is no such thing as up or down. The world in the midst of World War II was crazy... We have to trust, I thought, in a bigger law of nature that seems to hold the universe together in a kind of balance. Things move in their own orbit and yet hold their own kind of energy and design. I was fascinated with mobiles, which seemed to be related to the basic law of balance in our bodies."
In the performance, dancers floated slowly amid boxes and Falkenstein's large turning mobile. "Suspension" received mixed reviews at first, but is now regarded as a classic. Dance critic Donald McDonagh noted that O'Donnell's performance was ahead of its time, writing "it was revolutionary in its quiet way."
Please note: The date of the sculpture should read 1958.