Saturday, July 01, 2006

Alexander Calder's Circus

When I saw Alexander Calder's mobiles at the Smithsonian in Washington DC years ago, he quickly became one of my very favorite artists. Toward the end of his career AC made small sculptures out of wire and other random objects. Here is a great collection of movies made in the sixties of his twisted circus figures (4 parts):

Carlos Vilardebo's 1961 film of Alexander Calder's "circus," an intricately assembled performance piece played out by handmade characters including jugglers, sword swallowers, clowns, and animals. These figures, crafted from a collection of "cork, wire, wood, yarn, paper, string, and cloth," were each assigned a series of movements and manipulated by the artist to perform specific circus acts. With performances held at various locations in Paris and New York through the mid 1930s, Calder's circus helped to establish him in avante-garde circles. Jean Cocteau, Joan Miró, Fernand Léger, Piet Mondrian, Le Corbusier, Thomas Wolfe, and André Kertész were among those who saw the celebrated Cirque Calder over the years.

Sometimes life isn't supposed to be taken so seriously!

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4