Friends brought friends to see Calder perform his Circus. They sat on a low bed or on crates, munching peanuts while Calder, on the floor, manipulated his characters with strings and wires so that trapezist flew through the air, cowboys lassoed horses, and acrobats catapulted across space. It was through circus performances as well as in the artist studios and café life of Paris's Montparnasse quarter that Calder met colleagues who would also become icons of twentieth-century art and life-long friends: Piet Mondrian, Fernand Léger, Joan Miró, and Marcel Duchamp, among them. Now is your chance to experience Calder's Circus in action.
Le Grand Cirque Calder 1927 (1955). 16mm, color, sound (French); 60 min. Directed by Jean Painlevé with Geneviève Hamon, assistant; cinematography by Claude Beausoleil; sound direction by Freddy Baume. © Les Documents Cinématographiques, Paris, 2015 Whitney Museum of American Art. All regions DVD, NTSC/PAL.