Here are just some of the artists who have created kinetic or mechanical sculptures.

The skill and dedication that some of these people have brought to bear is incredible.

If I have missed anyone you think is essential, let me know.

And what more kinetic, user-friendly, inspiring sculpture was there than the gyroscopes we had as children. 

Jean Tinguely

He was one of the first to create mechanical sculptures: three dimensional paintings that I found captivating.

He did much more than sculpture and you can the range of his work at the Tinguely Museum website.

Paul Matisse

His sculpture, Musical Fence, at the DeCordova Museum, is an all-time favorite of mine.

A lovely, whimsical work that you are supposed to whang with a stick!

It makes lovely muted chimes as you hit the aluminum bars that are sturdily held in place by a cement base.

The work is utterly simple and brilliant, and a huge inspiration to me.

Visit the website of Paul Matisse to see much, much more.

Alexander Calder

Calder’s mobiles are a major influence on all modern art, even among artist who don’t create breeze-activated, delicate, hanging works.

Explore his work at the Calder Foundation website, which includes an interactive world map where you can click on Calder works all around the world; his influence is truly global.


Arthur Ganson

There is a major ongoing exhibit of Ganson’s works at The MIT Museum. When I have visitors coming to the Boston-Cambridge area the number one thing I take them to see is the Ganson works at MIT, ahead of the MFA and the Red Sox.

Ganson’s mechanical sculptures are clever, funny, and thought-provoking. They are machines that make you feel for them, that endear themselves to you.

Visit his website to see his work, with many videos of them in action. Not to be missed!

Anne Lilly

Lilly creates elegant steel kinetic works that are wonderfully choreographed.  Sometimes you are caught up in wondering if the parts will collide but they always pass by each other gracefully.

You can visit her website to her work and learn more.

Theo Jansen

The  Strandbeest mobile sculptures that Jansen creates are beyond imagination. You have to see them to understand the majesty of giant, mechanical, wind-powered beasts that wander along the beach.

The “beests” struggle to walk, to stay upright, to keep their thousands of parts in sync, and you yearn for them to succeed.

You can see his work on the Strandbeest website and also find many YouTube videos. If this is new to you… go there now.


Daniel Rozin

Rozin makes mesmerizing arrays of mirrors that react to your presence.

His works are both highly technical and geometrical, yet also alive and organic.

You can learn about his work and the sophistication of his technology in this video.

Jennifer Townley

Jennifer Townley

Townley creates works that are a marvelous blend of mechanical and yet organic qualities.

You can see her work at her website and follow her on Instagram where she keeps us informed about her latest work and other adventures.