Anne Grace, Elizabeth Hutton Turner
Alexander Calder (1898–1976) as a radical inventor: an artist who discarded convention and disrupted hierarchies, overturning the traditional basis of culture while revolutionizing the way people perceive and interact with art.
Calder’s “new line” was not simply an evolution of forms and styles. From the start, it was quite clear to all who witnessed him at work that–in his way to draw attention and gaining notoriety–he was doing something radically new. This catalogue shows how Calder’s work emerged from expectations of change in American popular culture. Calder, who was initially attracted by the structure and functions of the circus, looked for alternative models to triumph over respectability, public decorum, and the ambitions of industry. The catalogue, with twelve essays from major contributors, will examine how Calder, among the first college-trained artists, found techniques and inspiration in many disciplines and their development: technology, engineering, architecture, physics, and astronomy among others. All these contributed to the development of his wire sculptures, mobiles, and stabiles. More than 100 works and comparative illustrations will guide the reader through this innovative and unique path.
Elizabeth Hutton Turner is Professor of Modern Art at the University of Virginia, former Senior Curator of the Phillips Collection, and a renowned scholar of Calder’s work. She has also acted as a consultant for the Calder Museum Project in Philadelphia and has been project director, author, and editor for several exhibition catalogues of Calder’s work.
Anne Grace is the organizing curator of Radical Inventor: A Retrospective of Alexander Calder and Curator of Exhibitions and Education at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. In her former role as Curator of Modern Art at the MMFA, she co-organized numerous exhibitions, most recently From Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Impressionism to Expressionism, 1900–1914 (2014).
W. Bernard Carlson is a professor in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society (School of Engineering) and in the History Department (College of Arts and Sciences) at the University of Virginia. He is an expert on the role of technology and innovation in American history.
Linda Dalrymple Henderson is David Bruton, Jr. Centennial Professor in Art History, Distinguished Teaching Professor, and Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Professor, Department of Art and Art History, University of Texas at Austin. Her research and teaching focus on the interdisciplinary study of modernism, including the relation of modern art to geometry, science, and technology, and mystical and occult philosophies.
Pascal Jacob is a circus arts historian, a teacher at circus schools in Canada, Belgium, and France, and the artistic director of Cirque Phénix and the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain. He has published over thirty books on the history of circus arts. He is a tireless collector of historical circus paraphernalia and publications.
Abigail Mack is an independent conservator and advisor to the Calder Foundation. She has a specific interest in large-scale and monumental sculpture and, in collaboration with the Calder Foundation, is involved in an ongoing research project that aims to develop more durable coatings for painted outdoor sculpture.
Vanja Malloy is Curator of American Art at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College. A former Chester Dale Fellow in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she has authored “Rethinking Alexander Calder: Astronomy, Relativity, and Psychology” (doctoral thesis), “Presenting Alexander Calder: A Review of Current Exhibition Practices” (2015), and “Rethinking Alexander Calder’s Universes and Mobiles: The Influences of Einsteinian Physics and Modern Astronomy” (2012).
Eleonora Nagy is Conservator of Three-Dimensional Works of Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She worked on the conservation of the famous Calder’s Circus, a multidisciplinary project that required collaboration with an art historian and an archivist to address the various media and materials that comprise this work.
Arnauld Pierre is Professor of Art History at the Université de Paris (Sorbonne IV), a member of the research team on twentieh-century art at Centre André Chastel, and author of several books on Calder. His doctoral thesis, “Mouvement et réalité dans l’œuvre de Calder. Des années de formation à la maturité” (1995), was followed in 2009 by the monograph Calder. Mouvement et réalité.
Claire Raymond, author of several collections of poetry, is lecturer for the program in Art History at the University of Virginia. Her main research interests are aesthetic theory, photography, and feminist theory: her aim is to investigate how the visual culture and the arts shape the public and private life of Man.
Emily C. Reed is a Ph.D. candidate in History of Art and Architecture at the University of Virginia. She recently completed her doctoral dissertation, “Alexander Calder, Naum Gabo, Isamu Noguchi and the Pre- and Post-War Development of Abstract Art for Public Space,” under the direction of Dr. Elizabeth Hutton Turner.
Alex J. Taylor is a historian of modern art and visual culture whose recent publications on post-war sculpture have focused on the late career of Alexander Calder. From 2014 to 2016, he was the inaugural Terra Foundation Research Fellow in American Art at the Tate.