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Lesson Plans

Calder exhibit........

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Bunki Kramer (
Sat, 26 Sep 1998 11:02:43 -0700

>There will be a Calder exhibit--not sure the same as the one Bunki
>saw--at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts beginning in Dec. The
>title of the show is Le Grand Cirque.
>Bunki, did the video show a lot of his wire sculptures? I'd like for my
>students to see what one can do with a few strands of wire (although I've
>had some very elegant ones from them).

Hi. This might possibly be the same another title...of the
same works since the show here in SF runs from Sept. 4th - Dec. 1 (and
during our state art convention in Oakland, CA). I do know this show came
from the National Gallery in Washington, DC.

I forgot to mention that the big disappointment of the exhibit was the fact
that none of his pieces were "running". Even the battery-operated pieces
were stilled. The rationale is because much of the work is older or
fragile. It was very hard to walk by the works which were to be
hand-cranked and you couldn't touch them. I spent much on my time and
energy blowing on the pieces to make them move. People around me sippin'
wine (it was a teacher showing, natch!) thought I was looneytune but they
enjoyed the movement as much as I did. To enjoy his work, much of it is in
the movement. If "I" had been asked to set up this exhibit, I would have
provided some sorta air movement with small fans. But, of course, I wasn't
asked. (Smile) was dynamite.

The video I mentioned earlier (PBS'S AMERICAN MASTERS-ALEXANDER CALDER) is
the best one of his works I've seen. It gives a history and sample of his
works starting with the wire, then mobiles, finishing with stabiles. Every
other video I've seen only focuses on one certain aspect of these. This
video talks about the circus and shows him operating parts of it. It also
shows him making the wire caricature faces of his friends at parties, etc.

Most of the wire was graytone and med. size (sort of like a thinner
coathanger wire..thinner but not very flexible). Some might have been
painted black. I saw no black plastic-coverd wire like I've been using in
the classroom. Some pieces were connected with smaller wire wound around in
coil fashion. He would do a male figure with the wire starting in a coil
with the underarm hair, travel around the entire figure, and end with coil
under the other arm as hair....never breaking/cutting the wire at all. This
was in the bigger pieces too.

In the mobiles, many pieces hung from black string off black wire. I didn't
see as much clear filiment string as I was expecting. The fish mobile with
the broken cup and broken colored glass was much larger than expected and
also the "circus" people were larger than I had envisioned. In the same
vein, the cigarbox stabiles were way smaller. Very, very tiny.

I know I'm rambling, but where else can I express the joy I saw last night
and someone else can understand? Thanks for listening. Cya......

Bunki Kramer - Los Cerros Middle School
968 Blemer Rd., Danville, California 94526

  • Maybe reply: Ann Wilschke: "Re: Calder exhibit........"