Alexander Calder

Art is science in the flesh.   Jean Cocteau

Where’s Calder?

We’ll “Where’s Calder” as you watch the video.  You’ll be given an answer to look for and we’ll put all the answers together when we meet again.  The questions are chronological.  If you miss the video you may rent it from the Ohlone Library.  It’s called American Masters, The Artists.

  1. What did his mother do for a living?
  2. What did his father and grandfather do?
  3. How did he make his very early “dog and duck?”
  4. Why did he want to become a mechanical engineer?
  5. Were any of his early jobs successes?  What happened to the row of cucumbers?
  6. What early experience on a ship shaped his whole life?
  7. How old was he when he started at the Art Student’s League in New York?
  8. What was his favorite job at the Police Gazette?
  9. What was Paris like in the 1920s?  How did that shape him?
  10. Why did he like Josephine Baker so much?
  11. What two things did he always have in his pocket at parties?
  12. What kind of show did he give at parties?
  13. Were his first art shows a success? Give an example.
  14. The statement is made that he “suspended all artistic rules”  Do you think this is true? Give an example to support your statement.
  15. What famous writer and philosopher was his wife Louisa James related to?
  16. What amazing story was told about his Harvard Show?
  17. How did Piet Mondrian influence him?
  18. How long did Einstein stand transfixed before one of his sculptures?
  19. What made him change to “chance & chance movement” rather than motors to run his sculptures?
  20. Who suggested the name “mobile?”  What does it mean?
  21. Did the public like his “stabiles?”
  22. What was his “Mercury Fountain” in the Spanish Pavilion at the World’s Fair a tribute to?
  23. Why did he insist on calling his work “objects” instead of art?
  24. Did he do other things besides sculpture? Give an example.
  25. What did one critic think his large, abstract stabiles suggest?
  26. Why were his works “indispensable” to severe, modern buildings?
  27. It is claimed that Calder invented “site specificity.”  What is that?
  28. What did he answer when an interviewer asked him how he knew when his work was done?
  29. How many red shirts did he have?  Did he own a suit?
  30. What did he give everyone for Christmas one year?
  31. Was he a good dancer?  What South American Dance did he like?
  32. Was he generous? Give an example.
  33. How many of his works have they cataloged?  He worked for fifty years:  how many did he do a day?
  34. How tall is the stabile “Man” from the 1967 Montreal Expo?
  35. What happened in Grand Rapids Michigan when they hired him?
  36. Now what’s on their garbage trucks?  Why the change?
  37. Why was he on Nixon’s enemy list?
  38. “Every great artist is great because he perceives the world as if being seen for the first time.”  How does this apply to Calder?
  39. Did he really “change the  nature of sculpture?”
  40. Do you “feel better for having stared at (his sculptures) for a while?
  41. Why did he go abstract?
  42. Can you get the essence of an object without its actual form?
  43. Have you ever been moved by form itself?  The hills along Highway 5?  Piled clouds?  Redwood forest?  Desert?
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