Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Calder's Circus

I had a mean cold over the weekend. Now I'm back at work.
Here's a video Alexis sent me this morning of Alexander Calder's portable circus, which was an excellent start to the day.
I loved Calder's wire sculptures as a child, and last weekend I looked at his book of lessons in animal sketching in a museum in Paris.
Anyway, sit back and watch the performance. It will make you happy.

Alexander Calder’s fascination with the circus began in his mid-twenties, when he published illustrations in a New York journal of Barnum and Bailey’s Circus, for which he held a year’s pass. It was in Paris in 1927 that he created the miniature circus celebrated in this film - tiny wire performers, ingeniously articulated to walk tightropes, dance, lift weights and engage in acrobatics in the ring. The Parisian avant-garde would gather in Calder’s studio to see the circus in operation. It was, as critic James Johnson Sweeney noted, `a laboratory in which some of the most original features of his later work were to be developed.’ This film exudes the great personal charm of Calder himself, moving and working the tiny players like a ringmaster, while his wife winds up the gramophone in the background. The Circus is now housed at the Whitney Museum in New York. —The Roland Collection of Films & Videos on Art
(over Ubuweb)

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