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Free Film: Le Grand Cirque Calder 1927
Thursday, April 5, 2012

6 PM

By Stephanie

Last weekend, during a short trip to New York City, I visited The Whitney Museum of American Art. The highlight of my afternoon at the Whitney was seeing Calder’s Circus. When you reach the fifth floor of the museum, the elevator doors open and at the center of the dimly lit center gallery is an enormous glass case, filled with tons of trinkets and dolls around a circus ring–all created by Alexander Calder for his whimsical performance.

The circus first wows because of the meticulous craft that Calder clearly put into making the delicate, movable performers and their circus ring. But what I find more intriguing is comparing Calder’s Circus with his sculptures in “Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art”, currently on view at the Nasher Museum. In the diffuse, atmospheric light of the Whitney’s fifth floor, the miniature circus has such a strong sense of time; this is especially true when contrasted with the celestial almost outer-space like, timeless feeling of the Nasher Museum’s gray galleries and  sleek, modern mobiles.  Despite this huge contrast, what is obvious in the pieces at both museums, is Calder’s mastery of balance and movement as well as the light, playful quality of his work.

I absolutely recommend checking out both The Whitney’s Calder’s Circus and the Nasher Museum’s Calder exhibition (on view through June 17, 2012). However, if you won’t be in New York any time soon, come to the Nasher Museum on Thursday for the free screening of Le Grand Cirque Calder 1927, Jean Painleve’s famous 1955 film about Calder performing his beloved circus. The film starts at 6 PM and is free and open to the public.

For more info, visit the Nasher Museum’s website.

IMAGE:  Still image from 1955 film, Le Grand Cirque Calder 1927.

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