One in this documentary series that explores the lives and achievements of America's most celebrated native-born and adopted artists, performers, and creative talent. This documentary profiles the life and career of sculptor Alexander Calder, from his childhood among a family of artists to his creation of large public sculptures. Interspersed throughout the program's narration are comments by art professionals and Calder's family and colleagues, as well as archival footage and images of Calder's work. Marla Prather, curator of the National Gallery of Art, explains Calder's natural affinity for tools, materials, and creating objects. His grandson, Alexander Rower, discusses Calder's emerging experimental work in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s. Art critic Mark Stevens, Whitney Museum director David Ross, and playwright Arthur Miller describe the objects that Calder created in Paris, including three-dimensional wire portraits, fashioned spontaneously at parties; wire sculptures inspired by Josephine Baker; and a miniature circus populated by dozens of animals and mechanical performers, which Calder brought to life to entertain guests. Next is a history of Calder's mobiles, which emerged in an artistic environment created by colleagues Piet Mondrian, Paul Klee, and Joan Miro, and which derived from his own fascination with movement and space. Following this is a survey of Calder's works from the 1930s and 1940s, covering the various media that Calder used, from printmaking to set design. The documentary then explores the next phase of Calder's work -- monumental, steel sculptures called "stabiles," created for outdoor public spaces. A survey of his stabiles follows, including photos of his work at MIT in association with I.M. Pei; "Flamingo" in Chicago; "El Sol Rojo" in Mexico City; "Little Janey Waney" in Humblebaek, Denmark; and "L'Araignee Rouge" in Paris. The program concludes with a discussion of the controversy surrounding Calder's NEA-funded piece in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as well as his 1976 retrospective at the Whitney Museum weeks before his death. This program is closed-captioned. Cataloging of this program was made possible by Rosalind P. Walter, 1999.


  • DATE: June 17, 1998 Wednesdasy 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:56:46
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:54900
  • GENRE: Arts documentaries
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Art - Analysis, appreciation
  • SERIES RUN: PBS - TV series, 1986-


    • Susan Lacy … Executive Producer
    • Tamar Hacker … Senior Producer
    • Roger Sherman … Producer, Director
    • Karen Bernstein … Associate Producer
    • Lorri Leighton … Associate Producer
    • Thomas McNamee … Writer
    • Thomas Wagner … Theme Music by
    • John Bair … Animation
    • Yorgo Alexopoulos … Animation
    • Edgeworx … Animation
    • Teese Gohl … Composer, Instrumentalist
    • Aaron Heick … Instrumentalist
    • Nana Vasconcelos … Instrumentalist
    • Sergio Brandao … Instrumentalist
    • Cyro Baptista … Instrumentalist
    • Josephine Baker
    • Alexander Calder
    • Paul Klee
    • Arthur Miller
    • Joan Miro
    • Piet Mondrian
    • I.M. Pei
    • Marla Prather
    • David Ross
    • Alexander Rower
    • Mark Stevens