Perhaps I am the only one who does such things, but one of my favourite mental games consist of imagining the lives of the artists whose works I admire. For instance, in my mind's eye I see the portraitist Kehinde Wiley living in a stately downtown NYC loft where urban-chic meets 18th-century ornate; I'm positive he sleeps in a curlicued four-post bed most befitting of Louis XIV.

Likewise, I've always imagined Alexander Calder to be a wizened, punctilious man who, like his modernist mobiles and stablies, was sparse and reductionist to the very core. He must have worn white gloves as he worked in a medicinally sterile studio where he nitpicked at every dangling shape with a pair of needle-nosed tweezers, demanding that it hang just so from the thinnest pieces of arched wire.

So imagine how shocked I was to discover instead a burly, jovial-looking man hacking away at some Calder-esque object within a cluttered cavern of a workshop, as captured by Herbert Matter in the 1950 film, Works of Calder

In the Nowness extract, Matter reveals a Calder whose technique and working style differs greatly from the sulking, meticulous artist of my mind. Which ultimately makes me marvel even more at the delicate and deeply considered works created by a man who obviously threw his entire being into exploring the spatial reaches of abstract art. 

According to the Calder Foundation, the film (which originally made its debut at MoMa in 1951) will be shown this fall in its entirety via It's been said that Calder tended to mount his mobiles and smaller jewelry pieces without soldering them together in the traditional manner of a metalsmith; here's to hoping the rest of the film shows exactly how he achieved such feats without being obviously neurotic...


NB Images and Video Courtesy Nowness

Of Interest

Rietveld Schroeder Huis, Utrecht NL
Centraal Museum Utrecht
The Gerrit Rietveld Shroeder Huis 1924, Utrecht, Netherlands Centraal Museum Utrecht
Sam Lewitt at the Swiss Institute
Swiss Insitute NYC
Upcoming Shows Sam Lewitt: Less Light Warm Words June 08 - July 24th 2016 Swiss Institute New York
Harry Bertoia's Environment for Sound
Bertoia at MAD Museum
Atmosphere for Enjoyment Harry Bertoia’s Environment for Sound May 3, 2016 to September 25, 2016 MAD Museum
Gerrit Rietveld Furniture Design
Rietveld & Van Baar Collection
Rietveld & Van Baar Collection March 31st to Sept. 25th 2016 Centraal Museum Utrecht