Renowned art critic Jed Perl discusses his new book, the first biography of America’s greatest twentieth-century sculptor, Alexander Calder, with Calder's grandson and president of the Calder Foundation, Alexander S. C. Rower.
Alexander Calder is among the most beloved and widely admired artists of the twentieth century, perhaps best known as the inventor of the mobile. Forty years after the artist’s death, his story is finally being told in full by art critic Jed Perl, making use of previously unavailable letters and papers as well as scores of interviews.
Calder: the Conquest of Time traces roughly the first half of artist's life, from 1898 to 1940. Born into a family of artists—his father was a well-known sculptor, his mother a painter and a pioneering feminist—Calder would later forge important friendships with a who’s who of twentieth-century artists, including Joan Miró, Marcel Duchamp, Georges Braque, and Piet Mondrian.
Perl explores the transatlantic richness of Calder's life, from Greenwich Village in the Roaring Twenties, to the Left Bank of during the Depression, and then back to the United States, owning a run-down old farmhouse in western Connecticut. He also sheds new light on Calder’s lifelong interest in dance, theater, and performance, ranging from the Cirque Calder, the theatrical event that became his calling card in bohemian Paris to collaborations with the choreographer Martha Graham and the composer Virgil Thomson.
Perl will speak with Alexander Calder's grandson and president of the Calder Foundation, Alexander S. C. Rower, about why Calder was—and remains—a barrier breaker, an avant-garde artist with mass appeal.