Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gallery Visit: Alexander Calder at Pace Gallery

We're going to the Pace Gallery on October 27th, to see Alexander Calder's sculpture. His grandson, Alexander Rower, the President of the Alexander Calder Foundation, helped Pace Gallery assemble the exhibition. Calder's sculpture is amazing. He cuts metal shapes and bends them into perfectly balanced sculpture. Sometimes he paints them. Sometimes he hangs them from wires and the slightest breeze makes them move. They appear light as feathers, but we know that all that metal is very heavy. 

Here is an introduction Calder's genius:

Alexander Calder (born 22 July 1898 - 11 November 1976) was an American sculptor, one of the giants of American art. He is renowned for his invention of mobiles, hanging steel sculptures, that were so perfectly balanced they could move in the slightest breeze.

Calder's giant, bolted-steel, standing sculptures were called Stabiles.

Admired by many architects, Calder's grand-scale sculptures have been chosen to stand in the plazas of our modern office towers.

Early in his career, Calder developed new methods of sculpting. Here he "draws" a three-dimensional portrait by bending and twisting wire.

He created a miniature circus he called "Cirque Calder," with small, bent-wire belly dancers, lion tamers, animal trainers.  He loved to "perform" the circus for his friends. 

You can see Calder's original circus figures at the Whitney Museum. There is a film of Calder performing his tiny circus with his own wild sound effects.

Join us when we visit the Pace Gallery at 32 East 57th Street,  to see the Calder exhibition.


Here is a sculpture project inspired by the Cirque Calder. You can try it with your child at home. Build a circus with a few fun circus acts and animals.  Or, you can select a familiar book and construct the characters. Create your own special "performance"of the story. "Perform" it for your friends. Do a video of the story.

You'll need some pipe cleaners, playdoh, scissors and construction paper.

Twist the pipe cleaners into small figures.
Press some playdoh, and pieces of fabric(?) onto the pipe cleaners to add color.
Construct a "stage set" using construction paper.
Have your characters "perform" the story.
Put on some music.
Don't forget your video camera.

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