Alexander Calder's High-Wire Act

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Ferrous Metals

Calder in his Paris studio, 14 Rue de la Colonie, fall 1931. Photograph by Marc Vaux

The evidence is clear in this picture. Sculptor Alexander Calder (1898″1976) was fond of metal wire. It was a boundless medium for him. He invented hanging moving sculptures called mobiles, in which objects, typically abstract shapes of colored sheet metal, are arranged by wire. He constructed figurines of varied materials, from cork to wood, mostly wire, that became the illustrious cast for an assembled performance piece of a circus, dubbed Cirque Calder (see the 1961 film by Carlos Vilardebó). He is widely known for his monumental works of metal in America and Europe, but he also made hundreds of pieces of jewelry, crafted of wire in the form of necklaces, bracelets, earrings and tiaras. In Calder’s hands, wire was a pliable extension of his imagination.

Nate Burgos

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