Hello Again, Hello Girls: Part II


Yesterday we told you that Hello Girls, LACMA’s sculpture by Alexander Calder, is back up and running again thanks to recent repairs. After paging through what seemed like a phone book-sized packet of conservation reports, it became clear that it’s been difficult to keep the sculpture in working order since its original installation in 1965, largely due to complications with the water circulation system. When Head Objects Conservator John Hirx began the overhaul of the feature five years ago, he went to Las Vegas to look at the Bellagio; if the desert hotel can maintain a huge lagoon with hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, he presumed there must be a way to solve the seemingly endless Hello Girls challenges. Ultimately John hired a team of designers who came from the company that worked on the Bellagio project, and they rebuilt the feature that is seen today. (The same crew also developed the Grove’s well-known water feature.) The solution was a pool with less water (8,000 gallons vs. 24,000 gallons) and a much stronger pump.


Now that one water issue has been resolved, John and his colleagues are tackling another—they’re investigating the best paint solution for the paddles, or “leaves,” shown above. Requirements? Must withstand UV radiation, hot and cold cycles, abrasive particles in the wind, and the constant pounding of water. No problem, right? We’ll keep you posted on that one.

Allison Agsten

11 Responses to Hello Again, Hello Girls: Part II

  1. Dale Kronkright says:

    Tell John to conact me RE: paints when he has a chance

  2. Very lovely.

    Now that you’ve updated the sculpture’s water system, how about updating Hello Girls‘ theme?

    Think hot Japanese tourists in white T-shirts splashing through it.


  3. janetesm says:

    So glad to see this with water again. It is really beautiful. No idea that there were so many issues with the water system. Good to know that experts are on hand to resolve it. I’m the same age as the Calder piece and experts haven’t been able to help me, but that’s another story 😉

  4. Just think of all the great sculpture that could have been bought back in the day, for this in todays dollars of $200,000. And you want to hang a fake loco-motive for $20 mil? Thats insane, and well, loco. Whats your motive? To present creative art, or entertain the wealthy with absurdist toys? Rethink your motives for existence. Your Purpose has been lost, and these two “sculptures” are the polar opposites, and reasons you must review why you are in existence as an institution.

    Creative art is and always has been about defining humanity, exploring nature, and searching for god. The interconnection of mankind and nature, with colors stimulating a sense of more in Calder’s work fits this definition. A Loco-motive is the very antitheses, its about the individuals greed, vanity, and decadence. Search your souls, for art is made with mind, body and soul, layering philosophy, science and theology in musical ways, of melody, harmony and rhythm. Hello girls does this. Can you really with a straight face, open mind and honest soul claim a loco-motive does the same thing?


    art collegia delenda est

  5. Though I think the piece would look much better if the base was painted a French ultramarine blue or even violet. And please pain that horrible Japanese Pavilion white, will you? Looks like the green styrofoam one used in shop class making scale models of houses in middle school. Ugghh!

    Such beautiful works inside, such bad lightiing and horrible colored building. White and black trim or dark brown wood would be much better, with better light. For very little money one could present the works in much better ways, $20 mil would take care of all that and more.

  6. Actually, make that sap green.

  7. Allison Agsten says:

    A lot of fascinating color on Hello Girls in Christopher Knight’s LA Times/Culture Monster post today:


  8. […] sculpture) in Los Angeles; hidden in a corner of the LACMA campus is a huge Calder fountain called Hello Girls.  For most of the year the fountain is dry, but during the hot seasons jets of water propel the […]

  9. Alexander Calder made only this one mobile-wind and water driven! Unfortunately his small model (mockette) was misinterpreted so the 1961 “Hello Girls” mobile ‘crashed’ after installation- in at least 3 places in the city! The staff was not able to get it to fly, so it was put in storage for up almost 16 years! I won a small contract to get it up and flying again ans with help from staff, we did it! I am an aero engineer, Calder made it too heavy! Bud Goldstone, engineer, author

  10. Hello Girls is great to watch while lunching at LACMA! The original problem with Alexander Calder’s wind & water-driven, mobile was the large paddles were so heavy they immobilized the mobile! I won a contract to get her to fly and changed from steel paddles to aluminum! I am an aero engineer! Bud Goldstone.

  11. Dee says:

    Thank you, Bud, for helping restore one of the original features of LACMA.

    I’m old enough to vaguely recall a TV special about the premiere of LACMA back in 1965. There was a segment that featured actress/comedienne Carol Channing, who was shown standing near “Hello Girls.” The humor of the setup was that, as she was doing her dialogue, she had to keep looking nervously over her shoulder because of the threat of her getting drenched with water from the water spouts.

    And, Donald, I think the current and original metal color of the sculpture’s uprights actually is better aesthetically than your suggestion that they instead be blue, violet or green. Such colors would be rather cheesy.

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